Beacon Falls budget ends with surplus

BEACON FALLS — An audit showed the town’s $6.2 million 2014-15 budget finished with a surplus of $357,000.

The Board of Finance approved the audit last month.

Board of Finance Chairman Joe Rodorigo said the operational budget ended with a balance of $157,000, including a $20,000 savings in the price of trash collection and $75,000 in unused money in the contingency fund.

The remainder of the overall surplus — $200,000 — stemmed from the collection of back taxes above what was budgeted for as revenue, Rodorigo said.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik credited Tax Collector Maryann Holloway with aggressively pursuing back taxes.

“We are certainly grateful. We owe her a debt of gratitude for all the work she does there,” Bielik said.

The audit also showed areas for improvement, such as how the town disposes of capital assets, Rodorigo said. He said the town is already working on addressing those areas.

“All those are things we have taken corrective actions on already,” Rodorigo said. “We have taken significant corrective actions to tighten up financial processes. We created a subcommittee to upgrade security. We are moving everything in right direction.”

The $357,000 balance represents roughly 5.75 percent of the town’s 2014-15 budget. The municipal budget doesn’t include education spending for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

The surplus increased the town’s fund balance from approximately 9.7 percent to about 11 percent of the budget, Bielik said. He said the money could be used to help offset the cost of projects around town, such as road work or replacing carpets at Town Hall.

“It gives the town the flexibility to do some capital improvements without asking for increases in tax revenue,” Bielik said.

Bielik said the surplus will also help the town come in with a lower budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

“Our goal is, at a minimum, trying to keep the mill rate flat, if not looking to see if there is a way to trim it at the margins,” Bielik said.

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