Dalton Select Board Reviews Collector, Debt Budgets

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board continued its review of the proposed fiscal 2024 budget, going over the line items for the tax collector and town debt. 
The tax collector's budget $122,013, up 9.41 percent largely from wage increases and software upgrades. 
The collector's salary is increasing from $58,481 to $61,776 and the assistant from $37,608 to $39,031, both step increases.  
The department is upgrading its software because the current iteration requires a restart every 30 days to reboot because it is still a disk-operating system, Tax Collector Melissa Davis said.
The upgrade is going to cost a one-time fee of $5,000 in addition to the annual fee of $8,400. That's up from $7,600, but it will be the first increase this line item in nine years. 
"I think the increase is a fair ask, since it's going to be more of the technologies standards, I guess it is what it is. It is frustrating so it's definitely something that I need to do," Davis said. 
The postage budget is level-funded from last year at $19,636. This year, the clerk was able to get the state to reimburse the town for the early voting ballots that went out so she is confident that the line item in the amount of $16,500 will be enough for FY24.
The Maturing Debt and Interest Debt Excluded line item is in the amount of $70,000. This covers the town's current loans, including principal and interest.  
Interest on the Dalton Division Road engineering is in the amount of $14,000, projected on borrowing this June. Fuss and O'Neill projected that the engineering would incur about $473,000 by the end of June. 
It was recommended stabilization funds be used first which would a balance of about $280,000 that would need to be borrowed. This was estimated at $56,000 a year at 5 percent interest. 
Sewer and drains debt is at $65,653. This covers current loans; borrowing for the Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey is expected to occur in June. 
Another $130,090 is for current loans and interest and what is expected to be borrowing for Town Hall renovation.

Tags: Dalton_budget,   fiscal 2024,   

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Dalton on Search for New Fire Chief

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — Chris Cachat will continue as acting fire chief as the Board of Water Commissioners determines its next steps. 
Cachat, the assistant chief, stepped in three weeks ago when James Peltier was placed on administrative leave. Peltier was fired last week for what the commissioners said were personnel complaints and for overspending his budget.
Commission Chair James Driscoll said at Tuesday's meeting it could take the department a couple of weeks to a couple of months to find a replacement. 
Hiring from outside the department search could take longer. 
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