Audit shows surplus for Prospect

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Certified Public Accountant Michael Battista, center, speaks during the Prospect Town Council Jan. 15 about the results of an audit of the 2011-12 fiscal year as Chairman Tom Galvin, left, and Councilor Stanley Pilat listen. –LUKE MARSHALL
Certified Public Accountant Michael Battista, center, speaks during the Prospect Town Council Jan. 15 about the results of an audit of the 2011-12 fiscal year as Chairman Tom Galvin, left, and Councilor Stanley Pilat listen. –LUKE MARSHALL

PROSPECT — An audit shows the town ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $300,000.

The town ended with a fund balance, or surplus of $317,987, according to the audit.

Certified Public Accountant Michael Battista reported the surplus to the Town Council last week. The surplus fell by $184,527 from the previous fiscal year.

There are two main reasons for the drop, Battista explained.

The first was that the town saw a 2.7 percent increase in education costs.

Battista attributed the increase to the fact that stimulus money provided in the previous years had run out during the last fiscal year. Also, last year the town saw a rebate from the school district last year but not this year, he said.

“[The school district] expended all of the money that you gave them this year and held on to whatever balance was left to balance the current year’s budget,” Battista said. “In the previous year you got back $146,000, which is an unbudgeted favorable revenue item, and that really helps when you’re having a tough year.”

Battista explained there was also a rise in the number of students from Prospect attending Region 16 schools, which led to a higher cost to the town.

The town also saw a 9 percent increase in public works spending, which was attributed to the cleanup following Tropical Storm Irene and the 2011 October snowstorm.

Battista said the total cost of the storm cleanup for the 2012 fiscal year was approximately $541,500 and FEMA refunded the town approximately $406,100 — leaving the town to cover $135,000 of the costs.

The town also lost approximately $116,500 in state aid.

“Looking at those facts it looked like it was going to be a horrible year for you, but you did okay,” Battista said.

Battista explained in the audit that, in addition to the money from FEMA, the town also received a grant of approximately $36,000 for a waterline that was installed on Route 68.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said the dip will not affect the town’s credit rating at this time. However, he said that going forward the town will need to be frugal.

“We’re just going to have to keep on operating, keep on saving every nickel and dime and hope we don’t have a severe winter,” Chatfield said. “A lot of the town budget depends on Mother Nature in any town or city.”