Prospect budget ends in the black

PROSPECT — The town’s 2014-15 municipal budget finished with a surplus.

An audit of the $7.56 million budget showed the budget ended with a balance of $328,429, or roughly 4.3 percent of the budget.

“The surplus is a result of lots of hard work by a lot of people saving dollars,” Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

The surplus comes in part because of the town’s partnership with Covanta Energy Corporation, a trash-to-energy plant in Bristol, Chatfield said. The town received more than $100,000 from Covanta during the fiscal year, he said. This revenue, which wasn’t budgeted, represented the company’s fund balance distribution to Prospect.

According to the audit, the surplus brings the town’s fund balance to more than $1.1 million.

Chatfield said the money will be used to offset some upcoming expenses, such as the purchase of a mini dump truck and the upcoming repairs expected to take place at the former Community School.

The town is seeking to buy Community School from Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. A district meeting to vote on the sale is set for March 23.

Chatfield said the surplus will also have an effect on the town’s bond rating.

“The bonding houses want a goodly percentage of budget in surpluses. So if we bond, this will help with our bond rating,” Chatfield said.

No matter how the surplus is used, Chatfield said it will have a positive impact on the town.

“It is unanticipated money. Whatever we do with it will save taxpayers dollars,” Chatfield said.