Dalton Green Committee Gets a Budget

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board approved the Green Committee's request for a budget so it can help address some educational and technical issues. 
Chair Joseph Diver asked whether this should fall under the town manager's budget since there isn't a budget number and he oversees the committee. A budget number will be created. 
Although the board approved the amount of $4,620, it did stipulate that the Green Committee is not a department so it should not be operating without oversight, Diver said. 
"My concern is because I don't want the Green Committee to run as a department. They're very eager and I have a lot of confidence in what they're trying to get done but I want to make sure that there's management oversight and we don't have management oversight from a department from a resource perspective," he said. 
The Green Committee was created to advise the town manager on strategy. Diver added that he doesn't want any committee to "run off and do things without oversight." 
The committee requested $1,020 to help fund a climate leader component, which is the next step toward a designation that would allow it to leverage grant funds as part of the state's effort to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The committee also requested $2,000 for advertising. This amount was questioned by board member John Boyle, who said it seemed like a lot. 
Town Manager Tom Hutcheson noted that advertising does cost a lot of money, mentioning that a legal ad in The Berkshire Eagle costs around $200. 
Earlier in the meeting, Diver mentioned that the town website should be updated because it is not user friendly. 
"It's hard to find information. It's very difficult, very challenging to find the most recent postings," he said. "It's not the consumer friendliness of it, just my opinion."
Diver reiterated this sentiment again to note that the town could push messages out using an updated website rather than spending that much money on advertising.
When Diver initially brought it up to the board, he recommended they add a line item in the telecommunications budget to overhaul the website.
Town Accountant Sandra Albano said the town is currently being billed $474 a month for website maintenance and management by the company that originally built it.
"I don't know if that's the place to contact these people and give them ideas about what it is that you're looking for and they could quote out what it would cost to upgrade," she said. 
The board agreed to have a discussion on upgrading the website at a future meeting. 
During a discussion of American Rescue Plan Act and Capital funds, Boyle said the Green Committee had a lot of requests for a panel that just came out of "hibernation" after being suspended for a year. 
The Green Committee Chair David Wasielewski will provide more information on the committee's requests at the next board meeting.

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Safety Solutions Proposed for Berkshire Mall Intersection

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A speed bump and traffic mirror have been proposed at the reportedly problematic intersection of Old State Road and the Berkshire Mall entrance.
Last week, abutters approached the Select Board with concerns about drivers ignoring stop signs and speeding through the area. Target owns its building and is the lone business left on the property.   
"When you turn into Old State Road, our driveways are right there," Judy Bennett said. "Nobody stops, nobody slows down to come around that corner. They go faster and that's where someone is going to get hurt."
Carl Bennett added, "We are taking our lives into our own hands when we pull out during the day."
The Old State Road bridge connects the mall and Old State Road to Route 8. Abutter Pauline Hunt would like to see it closed entirely, making the Connector Road the access point from Route 8.
"That entrance isn't necessary," she said.
"It's chaos. There's an entrance over by the bike path that would serve everybody, there would be no problem, and there are lights at the end of it, it's a dream to get into there. I don't see the reason that chaos is there."
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