Town leaders in Naugatuck, Prospect, and Beacon Falls all echoed the same manta – We’ll do the best we can with what little we have. With the economy seemingly at a standstill, the coming year promises to be a slim one for town budgets. Even so, local town leaders have a lot of projects on their plates for 2011.
‘Continue being cheap’
Prospect Mayor Bob Chatfield promised to continue saving taxpayers dollars. He said he didn’t plan to start any new major capitol projects due to the poor economy. Although he didn’t have any specific ideas of new ways to save money, Chatfield said he’d stay the course of fiscal responsibility he’s set for the past 32 years.
“While the economy is starting to show some signs of bottoming out, it’s still a very difficult time for folks. We’ll be looking to try to keep taxes as low as possible,” said Prospect Town Council Chairman Tom Galvin.
He said he was worried about how much financial aid the state will give to Prospect.
“With the state being in a deep financial hole, we hope they do not cut aid to cities and towns. … We’ll have to see what the new governor’s ideas are along that line,” Galvin said.
For the last few years, federal stimulus money has been used by the state to prop up their aid for education and cities and towns. With stimulus money drying up, Galvin hopes that Prospect will not be hurt.
“We would hope to have zero increase in taxes while maintaining the quality of life that we all hold near and dear in Prospect,” Galvin said.
Galvin said Prospect would continue on the same fiscal path it has been for the past few years.
“I think we’ve held a very frugal course. We’ve held tight on the budgets. We just know that if you spend you’re money wisely, you get the most out of it,” he said.
Waiting for word from state on wind turbines
The biggest issue facing Prospect as the town rolls into the New Year is seeing what decisions the state makes on wind turbines, according to Galvin.
“A lot of it is up to the Siting Council, who will be making some early determinations in February or March,” Galvin said.
The Town Council recently passed a resolution calling for a state-wide moratorium on wind turbines until the state has a chance to come up with regulations to govern them.
“We hope they take into account lessons learned from other states … and do their best to protect residents of Connecticut from possible health and safety impacts,” Galvin said.
Meanwhile, residents against the turbines are preparing to fight the two turbines proposed for Prospect every step of the way.
Members of Save Prospect Corp. recently submitted a proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission for wind power development orders which would block the BNE turbines from being built within 3,000 feet of abutting property and regulate the hours of operation.
New garage coming
The one project coming up for Prospect is a new town garage set to start construction in the spring. With a $200,000 STEAP (small town economic assistance program)
grant from the state, Prospect is collecting bids for a three-bay garage to be built behind the present garage on Cheshire Road. The garage will be a simple structure with concrete slab and metal shell. It will keep town vehicles, including pay loaders and trucks safe from the elements when not in use. The last garage was built 25 years ago, according to town officials.
Chatfield to run for 18th term
It’s an election year for Prospect, and once again Bob Chatfield is running for mayor. Elections are Nov. 8.
“I’m looking forward to Mayor Chatfield winning an 18th term and continue to be the longest-running chief executive in Connecticut,” said Galvin.
It seems a foregone conclusion.
Most town officials are elected to two year terms, except the Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Commission, which are elected to four year terms so they can be staggered, with half the board up for reelection every two years.