Dalton annual town meeting preview

When: 7 p.m. Monday Where: Nessacus Regional Middle School, with masks required.

Assessment: Residents will grapple with the question of paying Dalton’s full assessment for the Central Berkshire Regional School District — or send a message by sticking with the town’s current-year payment. Dalton’s share of the district’s operating cost is close to what it takes to maintain all municipal governmental operations. Dueling figures: The Finance Committee is recommending that residents level-fund the town’s share of the school district’s budget, and reject an assessment of £8,145,750.

The finance panel’s recommendation is £326,961 less — £7,818,789. The panel does back paying the full town share of the district’s capital expenses. That would be £1.37 million for the coming year.

Defining “service” in service animal: If approved, a measure before residents Monday no longer would exempt owners of “service animals” from having to pay licensing fees, unless the animals provide specific tasks. It no longer would apply to animals that provide emotional support. The change also would require that ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.

Voting site: A citizens petition seeks approval to move the site of voting from the Community Recreation Association to the Dalton Senior Center. The question was signed by at least 40 voters to get on the warrant. Article Continues After

BUDGET Fiscal 2021: £8,078,091*

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Decrease: 3.24 percent *For town operating expenses, not including schools.

It includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees. LINE ITEMS Article Continues After

– To buffer an increase in taxes, the town proposes to pull £200,000 from a cash account – Moving £400,000 from the cash account into a variety of “stabilization” funds – Shifting £300,000 from the cash account to chip away at the unfunded liability the town faces for what’s known as “other post-employment benefits.” That liability, according to a 2019 study, stood at £4.5 million.

They money covers payments to retirees. – Appropriating £645,000 for capital projects, including replacing a 20-year-old plow truck, installation of a flashing pedestrian warning sign at Main and Depot streets, and rewiring the information technology system, in part to protect it from hackers. — Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

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