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Dalton Finance Committee Recommends Articles, OKs Transfers
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:38AM / Thursday, June 23, 2022
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DALTON, Mass. — A day after the Select Board voted to pull a $100,000 spending article from Monday's special town meeting, the Finance Committee recommended the other two money articles on the warrant. 
 
Article 1 authorizes the town to pay $8,643 in sewer and debt expenses not anticipated in time for the annual town meeting and Article 3 would move $2,066 from free cash to the Miscellaneous Grants account to cure a deficit. This is a deficit from a prior year so only a majority vote is required for this to pass. 
 
The Finance Committee voted to pass over Article 2 until more information can be gathered on the scope of the Town Hall renovation that goes beyond the planned asbestos abatement.
 
The Select Board on Tuesday had recommended not moving forward with this article until it could gather more information. The concern was that the proposal to renovate the third floor would trigger mores costly accessibility requirements.
 
The committee also voted to approve a reserve fund transfer in the amount of $1,200 to the recording secretary budget to cover additional meeting expenses and any additional office work due to the committee meeting more during COVID because of new town projects. 
 
Also approved was an information technology services request for a reserve fund transfer in the amount of $1,000 to cover computer maintenance due to more people setting up new laptops for virtual private network. 
 
The town engineering department's request for a reserve fund transfer in the amount of $1,900 was also approved to cover the total cost of a feasibility study that Hill Engineering will be doing. 
 
This study will cost $21,900 to evaluate if the Town Hall's roof can support solar panels as well as the library side of the roof for insulation. 
 
The town has already appropriated $20,000 and this additional $1,900 will cover the total cost.
 
The Green Committee is involved in this project that would install the solar panels and heat pumps on the library side of the building or the library roof in an effort to be more cost-effective.
 
If it is determined that the roof can support this work, the town can apply for a grant.
 
This is separate from the asbestos abatement and should not affect the work being done to Town Hall. 
 
The reserve fund has a new balance of $28,600 new balance after these transfers and will turn into free cash on July 15. 
 
The committee also approved a number of end-of-the-year transfers:
 
An interdepartmental transfer from town manager salaries to town manager expenses in the amount of $1,300 to cover the town manager's expenses to attend meetings.
 
• An interdepartmental transfer in the amount of $4,000 from vocational education expenses to telephone, internet, and email to make the budget whole "so that it can pay for the additional expenditures from Verizon" and pending May and June invoices. 
 
• An interdepartmental transfer from highway salaries to snow and ice salaries and expenses was also approved in the amount of $23,509 to cure the snow and ice deficit. 
 
"Three weeks of payroll remain to be paid through June 30, 2022. More than half of the above balance is estimated to be available for the transfer to Snow and Ice," the transfer request said.
 
• The amount of $450 was transferred from the group health insurance expense budget to the employee physical exam expenses in the amount to cover new employee physicals. 
 
• The town clerk salaries budget was also approved for an interdepartmental transfer from the board of registrar's salaries in the amount of $1,185 to cover the cost of the clerk's office day-to-day operations during the clerk's vacation time that was not budgeted for due to former Town Clerk Deborah Merry's retirement. 
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