Audit shows surplus, fund balance growth for Prospect

PROSPECT — The town ended the 2017-18 fiscal year on a positive financial note.

An audit of the town’s finances, completed by the Waterbury-based certified public accountant firm Charles Heaven & Company, showed the town ended the 2017-18 fiscal year with a surplus of $1.3 million.

According to the report, the town maintained a surplus even though it received $212,825 less in state grants.

The town offset the loss in state funds by collecting $1.43 million more in property taxes than it budgeted for as revenue in 2017-18.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said the tax office works hard to collect back taxes as well as current taxes.

According to the audit, the town’s unassigned fund balance stood at $2.43 million at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year. The balance increased about $68,000 from the previous year.

Town Council Chairman Jeff Slapikas said the state recommends municipalities have enough money in their general fund account to operate for at least two months. It takes $2.6 million per month to keep Prospect running, which means the town has about one month of funds, he said.

However, the town’s fund balance has been growing steadily since 2013, when it only had about $757,000, according to the audit.

“We are better than we were three or four years ago, but we are not up to where we should be for a fund balance as far as having the best rating for bonding and having enough money to get through 60 days,” Slapikas said.

Chatfield said there’s not much that can be done about increasing the fund balance other than increasing the town’s budget. However, he said if the town is frugal with its funds, there will be money left over at the end of the year to set aside for the fund balance.

“We will save money wherever we can. We still have to operate the town and bid things out we are supposed to be bidding out,” Chatfield said.

According to the report, there were no material weaknesses or discrepancies in the budget.

“It showed that we were doing well,” Slapikas said. “Everything was up to snuff. Everything lined up.”