North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard ready to give first State of the City

North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard

NORTH ADAMS — Despite being in office fewer than two months, Mayor Thomas Bernard will give a State of the City address this week.

The new mayor views the speech as an opportunity to update the public on the efforts he's launched thus far and set the tone for policy moving forward.

"I've had a chance to make a start, and I want to acknowledge work already [underway]," Bernard told The Eagle on Tuesday.

In a departure from recent tradition, Bernard will not give his State of the City address during a City Council meeting. Instead, it will be held in the City Council chambers at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Among the topics he plans to cover, the mayor expects to outline the work being done in North Adams Public Schools to explore shared services agreements with nearby districts and consolidation of the School Department's administrative offices into City Hall.

Bernard noted that, working with the City Council, the city has launched an effort to combat domestic violence in the wake of the killing of city resident Christa Steele-Knudslien earlier this year.

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

Looking toward the future, Bernard said he also hopes to "frame out what the budget process is going to look like this year."

In explaining his decision to give the address as a standalone event, Bernard noted that last year Mayor Richard Alcombright was forced to delay his State of the City address when City Council agendas became too saturated with other city business.

Alcombright also gave a State of the City address during his first year in office, but waited until May.

Bernard's first State of the City address will like have a different outlook — in his first speech, given during the depths of an economic recession, the former mayor warned residents that taxes and fees would need to increase by more than 10 percent to keep the city afloat. Now, the city's economic tone is markedly more hopeful given the recent wave of outside investment like those renovating the Tourists hotel and Greylock Mill, as well as growth from longtime city developers like David Moresi.

Bernard's address is open to the public and will be broadcast by Northern Berkshire Community Television.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.