By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — The Board of Finance on May 3 approved a roughly $8.9 million operating budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The proposed $8.9 million budget increases the budget by about 12.4% from this fiscal year.
First Selectmen Gerard Smith subsequently said it’s a good budget.
“I think it meets the needs of the town and brings us forward,” Gerard said. “It sets ups nicely for future large vehicle purchases in the future.”
The budget includes a new assistant public works director position for $119,877 to help lead the department, $10,400 for a land use administrative position due the department being overloaded, $38,605 for an additional 5 hours and a wage increase for the library due a higher usage demand and body and dash cameras for police due to unfunded state mandates.
The budget also allocates about $719,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance, or surplus, for capital projects.
The most expensive proposed capital project is $163,000 for a lease payment for the replacement of Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 Engine 2 and tanker.
The capital projects also include $37,000 to replace rotting walls with insulated panels and paint for the Town Garage, $36,511 for a lease payment a freightliner plow truck and $24,500 to replace concrete and railings surrounding the Senior Center entryway.
Town officials are utilizing surplus funds from this current fiscal year to fund the majority of capital projects this year.
The municipal budget doesn’t include the school budget for Region 16, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect. Voters approved a $41.7 million 2022-23 school budget last week. Beacon Falls’ net education is $14.6 million, an increase of about $519,000 or 3.7% due enrollment increases.
In total, the town’s proposed budget is about $24.3 million, which is an increase of about $900,000 from this fiscal year. Based on the grand list increasing by $113.3 million or 22.48% from 2020 to 2021, the budget proposal projects the tax rate will decrease 5.26 mills to 29.64 mills in 2022-23.
“I expect the mill rate to decrease,” Smith said subsequently.
A hearing on the budget proposal is May 17 at 7 p.m. at the senior center, 57 North Main St.
A town meeting to vote on the budget is set for May 24 at 7 p.m. at the senior center.