Prospect nearly doubles fund balance  

PROSPECT — An audit of the town’s 2016-17 budget showed that Prospect is in good fiscal shape.

The town ended the fiscal year with a $1 million year-end balance, according to the audit, which was prepared by the Waterbury-based Charles Heavens and Company. The surplus went to the fund balance, which increased to $2.5 million or 7.35 percent of the town’s overall budget.

“That fund balance would take you about a month if you don’t collect any money,” Enrico Melaragno, a certified public accountant with Charles Heavens and Company, told the Town Council in January.

Melaragno said the fund balance is on the low side.

“The [Office of Public Management] and other agencies like to say that your fund balance should be between 7 and 15 percent. So the town is at the lower side of that balance,” Melaragno said.

The town received about $500,000 more in revenue than it budgeted for and spent approximately $500,000 less than it had planned, Melaragno said.

The additional revenue included money returned by Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, and higher-than-expected tax collection.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said the savings primarily came from the fact there was a mild winter, so the town spent less on snow removal than anticipated.

“I think we did very well, especially with the outcome of the surplus,” Chatfield said. “I bet Connecticut would like to have a surplus.”

Melaragno complimented the town on how it managed to increase its fund balance.

“Just going from 2016 to 2017 you nearly doubled your fund balance. You can’t go wrong with that,” Melaragno said.

Chatfield said the town needs to work on how it categorizes assets. He said the town needs to figure out what items, such as spare truck tires and desk chairs, can be counted as assets.

The audit is expected to be on the town’s website soon so residents can look at it, Chatfield said.

“We watched out for each of the pennies. We watched out for investments of the taxpayers. It is their town, they own everything. We are keeping a good eye on it for them,” Chatfield said.