Prospect town spending down for 11-12 budget

Taxpayers in Prospect will be happy with this year’s proposed town budget, according to Town Council Chair Thomas Galvin.

That’s because the 2011-2012 budget proposal decreases spending by $2,300 compared to the current budget.

The total proposed budget stands at about $6.9 million, a 0.03 percent decrease.

“The town budget will not cause a tax increase in the town of Prospect,” Mayor Bob Chatfield said.

However, the Region 16 school budget and state revenues could still affect taxes next year.

The Town Council approved 19 of the 57 line items at its first budget workshop Saturday with no changes. The council will meet regularly over the next few months to hear budget requests from each department before going to public hearing in April.

Despite a 2 percent salary increase for town workers, the town was able to cut the budget overall, in large part due to an $110,000 bond the town recently paid off.

Chatfield kept his own salary steady at $77,575. There hasn’t been a raise in mayor’s position in eight to 10 years, he said.

Prospect is also projected to save about $26,000 on solid waste next fiscal year.

“Because the economy is down, people are buying less. Therefore our solid waste (garbage) is down,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield noted that the town’s Grand List went up this year, which means about $250,000 of new tax money will flow to the town.

Although he doesn’t expect another winter season as bad as this year’s, Chatfield increased the ice and snow account by $23,000.

He added some money to the labor, and ice and snow maintenance accounts.

But estimating future snow costs is a gamble, Chatfield said.

“Here we are in March, trying to figure out what it’s going to cost for the following June,” he pointed out.

As the town begins the budget process, Chatfield said he felt good about this year’s budget so far.

“There’s nothing hidden there. It’s all right there in black and white right there in front of you,” Chatfield said.

Copies of the budget will be available at the Mayor and Town Clerk’s offices.

The council will have its next budget workshop from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 15 at Town Hall, with its regular meeting to follow.