Adams Raises Transfer Station Permits

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen on Wednesday raised transfer station permit fee for the coming fiscal year to cover a gap in operations. 
The board set a fee of $125 for a permit that include three sheets, or 24, bag tags. Replacement and additional permits will remain at $10 and bag tags at $1.60, or $8 for a sheet of five. 
The permit went from $75 to $100 last year.
"The driving factor, of course, for the transfer station is the cost of the removal of the materials. That would be the municipal solid waste, or MSW, commingled with your glasses, your plastics and your papers," said Town Administrator Jay Green. 
With estimates for May and June, the projected total cost is $81,000, of which $71,000 is removal and the balance labor. 
This past year saw 564 permits sold  raising $56,400, replacement and additional permits brought in $890, and 7,690 bag tags $12,304. 
That raised in total $69,500, some $11,000 short. 
In fiscal 2023, the revenue was $75,000 when 30 more permits and some 5,000 more bag tags were sold. 
"That was a significant hit to the transfer station operation this year," said Green. He added that the revolving fund will be able to absorb the shortfall but the gap is getting larger looking at fiscal 2025 projections. 
The cost for Casella to remove waste is going up 6.1 percent to $116 a ton, plus a flat rate for removing the containers is going up 2 percent, from $397 to $406. 
Recyclables fluctuate depending on the market value and the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District is looking at an average of $135 a ton but Green said that's on the liberal side — worst case it could got to $170. 
The waste district, of which Adams is a part, will be negotiating with Casella as this is the last year of a five-year contract. 
Green said they could do nothing and dip into the revolving fund, use up the $25,000 budgeted that could be used for other needs or keep pace with charges along with other communities. 
"I have to agree that in order for us to be solvent in this, that we need to do what ... we might have to do by raising prices," said Selectman Joseph Nowak. "But, you know, raising a little bit here and then a little bit here that really adds up for people."
He hoped that communities using Casella Waste Management could "band together" to negotiate a better contract. Nowak described it as a good company but one that had so much control in the area "we're at their whim."
Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin gave an update on the repaving of Park Street expected to start in mid-June. 
Businesses should not be severely affected as the paving is expected to take about two days — the first day will be largely milling and the second paving. The major part of the work will be the removal of the trolley tracks on the south end of the street. 
During this period, northbound traffic only will be detoured over Myrtle Street. The sidewalk and curbing work on Columbia Street will take and estimated 14 days but should not impact traffic. 
The town had planned a full reclamation of Park Street, which has a foundation of bricks, silt, dirt and tracks, but bids came far too high. In response to questions, Coughlin said the road should last another five or more years giving the town time to put aside more money. 
In other business, the Selectmen:
Elected John Duval as chair and Christine Hoyt as vice chair. Newly elected Selectwoman Ann Bartlett was welcomed to her first meeting.
• Announced that a town meeting workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 29, at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen's meeting room. Green said there will be a presentation and officials will be on hand to answer any questions.
"This is an opportunity to show and ask us any questions," said Green. "New town meeting members are strong encouraged to participate so they understand the process of town meeting."
Town meeting members have been notified and sent the Finance Committee report.
• Approved one-day wine and malt licenses for Berkshire Catering for May 25-27, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m for the Hilltown Hoedown carnival at Bowe Field; three one-day entertainment licenses and a facility use request for the Adams Street Fair Committee for Zerbini Circuses for July 26-28 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Bowe Field; and for the Adams Street Fair Committee on July 14 from noon to 6 p.m. at Bowe Field.
• Approved a common victualer application for the Rainbow Shack; a similar application for 57 Park Street was withdrawn.
• Approved signage in a public way for Poppies Concessions for the Hilltown Hoedown at Bowe Field for May 25-27.
• Ratified the hiring of Michael Durant, Shawn Marko, Steve Skrocki and Jenna Harding as seasonal laborers in the Department of Public Works.  

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Cheshire Goes for Prop 2 1/2 Override to Fund School District

By Daniel MatziBerkshires correspondent

Recently retired Town Clerk Christine Emerson was recognized for her 30 years of service.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town will have to vote on a Proposition 2 1/2 override to raise taxes in order to fund its portion of the budget for the Hoosac Valley Regional School District.
That outcome was reached at town meeting on Monday only after nearly an hour of discussion among more than 100 voters, the Selectmen, Finance Committee and school officials. 
The first eight of 30 articles the annual town meeting warrant passed relatively quickly and unanimously at the start of the three-hour meeting. But with Article 9, the assessment to the regional school district, the meeting became more of an information session and sounding board for many in the town.
The town's assessment for the $23 million regional budget is $3,098,996, an additional $150,534 over this year's $2,948,462. Adams town meeting approved its assessment of $6,345,380 last week. 
The motion for an override was put forth by Selectmen Chair Shawn McGrath as an alternative to using free cash and stabilization funds to pay for the budget.
If the Proposition 2 1/2 override is rejected, the school district's budget would have to be amended and approved by the town.
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