Adams, Mass. – The board of selectors discussed on Wednesday changing the number of members of the finance committee, potentially reducing the size of the board by 15 members.
“It’s something that shouldn’t be new to anyone. I think it was probably introduced to me, literally, my first week here in the city,” city administrator Jay Green said.
Green said finance committees in other communities across the state typically have fewer than 10 members. He noted that Finance Committee Chair Carol Cushenette and Vice Chair Timothy R. Burdick favored reducing the size of the committee.
Green said the size of the committee sometimes hinders its effectiveness, noting that getting everyone to meet presents a significant logistical challenge.
“Initially, when I joined the city of Adams, and this was brought to my attention, I was operating under the mistaken assumption that was part of the special laws. In fact, that is not the case. It’s a rule,” he said. “So a town meeting can change that. We don’t need any legislative action from the state or anything like that. We could do that.”
Several council members suggested that the General Government Review Committee, of which Cushenette is a member, look into the matter. Green said he spoke about it briefly with the committee’s consultant, Bernard Lynch.
“He is very confident, according to the conversations [Tuesday]it will certainly be something that the General Government Review Committee would recommend, that we reduce it, ”he said.
Council Vice President Christine Hoyt said reducing the size of the committee could push people to serve on other city councils. Members of the finance committee are not permitted to serve on other municipal councils or committees.
“We have 15 people who are committed to helping and doing work here in this community. That means those are 15 people that we cannot tap into any other position in city government,” he said. she declared.
In other business, the council discussed the potential elimination of the city’s garbage disposal bylaw, which Adams implemented in March 1970. Green said that after hearing feedback from property owners buildings, he asked city staff, including Bob Rumbolt, superintendent of the city’s sewage treatment plant, to examine the rationale for the bylaw.
“At the time the sewage treatment plant was installed, it was thought that disposing of the garbage would be beneficial. And in fact, in [Rumbolt’s] opinion, they have been detrimental,” he said.
The by-law obliges all new buildings to have a garbage disposal, whatever it is. Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he would prefer the city remove the bylaw.
“I disagree with that. I disagreed in 2003, and I disagree now,” Garner said. “They’re no good for your system. They’re no good for the sewer lines. They’re no good for the factory, they’re no good for anything.”
Green said Adams is the only community in the county with such a bylaw. He explained that many communities have actually banned garbage disposal.
The board heard a presentation from Wylie Goodman, Senior Economic Development Planner for the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, on the five-year report on the organization’s overall economic development strategy. Goodman also presented recently at Lanesborough and Dalton.
Goodman said the plan will benefit the USRA financially and hopes it will allow the organization to give back more to cities.
“In some ways, what’s really the advantage is honestly for the USRA, because what it’s doing is it’s taking work that we were already doing and weren’t getting paid for, and we allows you to get paid for this work,” she said. “But it certainly helps us support cities better.”
One potential project mentioned by Goodman in his presentation was municipal broadband. Board member Joe Nowak said such a broadband service would benefit the community.
“Some of the more rural communities are struggling to get broadband, and it’s not just about getting broadband there, but the money to get broadband in some of these smaller communities “, did he declare.
Goodman asked board members to provide feedback over the next month.