Archive for category FAQs

Will the 2 1/2 over ride be used only for the proposed school project?

Yes, the 2 1/2 may only be used for the proposed school building project. In fact, that is why this project must recieve approval at the polls from both Adams and Cheshire. This is called a debt-exclusion. Further details are provided here at the Department of Revenue’s website- What is a Debt Exclusion?

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How will this project affect my business property taxes?

Approval of this project triggers a 25 year borrowing that is subject to a Debt Exclusion, therefore, the taxes for a business will increase just as they will for residents. The borrowing is being done as a fixed principle, meaning that the largest impact will be in the first full payment in 2015, from that point forward the impact will decrease a few cents per thousand each year throughout the 25 year borrowing. Traditionally in Adams we have had a CIP (Commercial, Industrial, Personal) shift in our property tax which requires the business rate to be at greater than 100% of the town-wide set tax rate. This shift has actually declined from 135% a few years back, all the way down to a current 115%. However, it is always subject to Board of Selectmen approval. The current Board has attempted to bring the shift closer to level, in order to provide some relief to local businesses.

Estimates for project impact on property tax rate, based off of current information and a 115% (Current shift). First column demonstrates the actual CIP (property tax rate), second column is the estimated business impact. These years are only a snapshot, the rate will fall a few cents annually.
FY 2014                                $.39                       $.45
FY 2015 (Largest year)  $1.47                     $1.68
FY 2023                                $1.21                     $1.40
FY 2033                                $.89                       $1.04
FY 2039 (Final year)       $.71                       $.82

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What are the plans for the Memorial School building? It make a big difference if the plan is to sell it and put on tax rolls or have it be a municipal property costing tax payers even more than the savings of the renovation.

This question is separate and apart from the School Building debate, as the MSBA has already indicated that they will not reimburse us for a project at the Memorial Middle School (AMMS), but it is important to ask nonetheless. Currently, the Town of Adams owns CT Plunkett and AMMS and leases them long-term to the School District. Once the building is completely finished being used as an educational facility (Projected Fall of 2012 if this project is approved), the Town will take over responsibility for the property. Within the community there have been two different perspectives of what to do with the facility, sell it or renovate it for community use.

This decision is far too large to be made by Town Government alone, and throughout the next two years the question will be analyzed and studied, likely by a Special Commission. In the final analysis, the Community will get the opportunity to weigh in strongly on what they would like to see happen with this property. The Town is fully aware of the public demand for expanded community resources, but also fully aware of the financial difficulty with doing anything like that at the AMMS.

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What programs will be cut during the construction?

There are no plans to reduce the number of teaching positions, and/or the quality of programs. Only the location will change, not the academic programs.

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What about ALL sports programs – where would they go? fields? tracks?

During the construction and off-campus relocation all sports programs will remain intact. There are two different ways in which this will happen.

1. Adams has a number of athletic fields that will be made available for high school use as neccessary – currently the High School utilizes Renfrew Park, Reid Field and Russell Field for both JV and Varsity sports games and practices. This practice is expected to continue and these facilities use will be expanded upon as necessary. Further, Valley Street field will be made available for some additional usage and the Town is planning to approach the Church about the possibility of using the Polish Picnic Grounds in some capacity if needed.

2. One of the advantages of using the CM at Risk construction management delivery method is the control of project phasing. Due to this, it is expected that the athletic fields up at Hoosac Valley will be available in some capacity during various stages of the project. The project will take fifteen months, but the work being done on each of the various fields will not, and whatever is done on those fields will likely be scheduled in a way where the fields can be utilized during the necessary season, while the rest of the property is undergoing construction.

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Why can’t AMMS just be renovated and maintained properly instead of just dumping money into it for a year?

From a reader: Why can’t AMMS just be renovated and maintained properly instead of just dumping money into it for a year? There are many structural flaws with that building (ie: ceilings collapsing, roof LEAKS and students’ lockers displaced due to flooding indoors, cracked walls, plywood seperating classrooms )…. Where has tax money gone??

AMMS has been maintained properly and within budget. The school district has spent over $880,000 over the past 10 years to maintain and repair this facility.

The ultimate decisions related to care of facilities in the district are in the support of the annual school budget by the town
meeting and the approval of the town meeting to allow the district to borrow for capital outlay. Rather than go to the towns and request funding without any state reimbursement the district is following the recommendations of the MSBA and will be reimbursed significantly.

Due to the age and the nature of the required renovations the MSBA has determined that the most cost effective project for our district is the one that is proposed.

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Why were students moved out of Adams Memorial Middle School?

It is becoming more and more of a challenge to address facility needs in a building that’s close to 60 years old. When the budget shortfall was over $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2010, the building became unoccupied to both balance the FY10 Budget and determine the long-term options of the district facilities through the feasibility study.

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Where will students be placed off campus?

There is only one realistic option off campus. High school students will be re-located to Adams Memorial Middle School, while 7th and 8th grade students will occupy the former Notre Dame School. The cost to prepare the two buildings for occupancy and maintain them for a year will be a fraction of the cost to the project if students remain on campus. Significant improvements will not be made to the buildings as this is a temporary placement. Minimal upgrades to accommodate student technology needs will be evaluated and put in place.

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What will happen to students during construction?

There are two options to continue our progress during construction. The first is called “phasing” where students remain on campus. This option adds considerable time to complete a project, additional costs to provide multiple educational spaces throughout the project and creates less than adequate conditions for students and staff. This will add significant additional time and cost to the project.

The second option, chosen by the building committee and agreed to by MSBA, is taking students off-campus. This option will reduce the construction to one school year and reduce the non-reimbursable cost of the project. It provides the best educational environment for students during construction.

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What has the school district spent for deferred maintenance at AMMS?

From 2000 to 2010, there has been approximately $900,000 in spending on various aspects of the facility needs, including $220,000 on building repairs, $200,000 on heating and plumbing repairs, $100,000 in electrical repairs and $40,000 for major roof repairs. A town grant also provided over $300,000 in funds for major upgrades to meet ADA requirements of the building.

On-going work to other district buildings include a replacement of the heating system at C.T. Plunkett Elementary School, replacement of boilers at Cheshire Elementary School and replacement of the roof at Hoosac Valley High School.

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