Drop in Adams-Cheshire Regional School District assessment leaves Adams extra $220,000 to spend

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ADAMS — With the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District's final budget coming in lower than anticipated, the Select Board will have $220,000 in additional funds to allocate for fiscal 2017.

In a presentation of his proposed fiscal 2017 budget on Monday, Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco said that the town's assessment from the district came in far lower than anticipated.

He projected a 3 percent increase in the school assessment, a jump of $146,321. But the assessment actually dropped, leaving the an additional $220,000 of wiggle room in the proposed budget.

In its current form, Mazzucco's proposed budget $14.57 million budget, an increase of 2 percent over last year's spending plan, while relying less on its reserves and free cash account than in previous years.

Though the town's inventory of properties remains under reassessment, initial estimates are that under Mazzucco's budget the average homeowner's tax bill would increase $126 per year.

With the additional money saved in the school's budget, Mazzucco said the Select Board will have the choice of reducing the tax levy amount, using the additional funds to offset the free cash that's used to balance the budget, or find a way to use the funds for much-needed capital repairs at C.T. Plunkett Elementary.

Mazzucco's spending plan used $300,000 less in free cash to balance the budget than the previous year, and actually adds to the stabilization fund for the first time in 15 years. But it also includes the reduction of several positions, including a deputy Department of Public Works Director, two public safety dispatchers, and a library cataloger.

Despite the further reduction in the town's labor force, Mazzucco said the town will still be able to maintain its core services.

Perhaps the most notable investment made in the proposed budget is a $40,000 allocation for continued development of the Greylock Glen. Mazzucco noted that the only way out of the continuous cycle of difficult budgets is to encourage new growth.

The budget includes a number of capital investments and improvements with funds from the town's free cash, such as a new police cruiser, a $50,000 dump truck, and $60,000 for slum and blight removal.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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