Dalton annual town meeting preview

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Where: Wahconah Regional High School auditorium, Old Windsor Road

Dalton officials seek town meeting approval to appropriate $17,829,698 for the fiscal year that starts July 1, including the town's operating budget, school spending and a total of 72 individual budget items. William Drosehn III, chairman of the Finance Committee, says the spending plan is a frugal one that follows Town Manager Kenneth Walto's call to department heads to avoid spending increases wherever possible. The 2020 budget does not include any costs related to the recently approved construction of a new high school. "We have been fortunate that a majority of the line item budgets have been held to reasonable levels," Drosehn writes in the Finance Committee report that will be handed out at the meeting.

Recycling contract: Town Meeting will be asked to let the Select Board enter a 10-year contract with a vendor handling recycling materials from Dalton. That step comes as communities deal with a weakened market for recycling, one that could, in time, cost them money. "We still get a check, but it's been declining," Walto said of income from recycled materials collected in Dalton. "We know it's going to flip and go the other way."

Police spending: Allocations for public safety are up slightly, by 1.47 percent for the Police Department — from $965,042 this year to $979,292.

Free cash: Continuing past custom, the Select Board and Finance Committee support using $200,000 from the free cash account to help reduce the tax rate.

BUDGET

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Fiscal 2020: $17.8 million

Increase: 1.8 percent

LINE ITEMS

$7,631,650: Town's operating budget.

$7,818,789: Public schools, a decline of 0.6 percent

$598,506: To pay debt, up from $369,877

— Larry Parnass


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