Beacon Falls budget passes by wide margin

0
5

Selectman Chris Bielik counts votes Tuesday night during a town meeting on the 2013-14 municipal budget. The $6.12 million spending plan was overwhelmingly approved. –LUKE MARSHALL
Selectman Chris Bielik counts votes Tuesday night during a town meeting on the 2013-14 municipal budget. The $6.12 million spending plan was overwhelmingly approved. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Voters overwhelmingly approved the proposed 2013-14 municipal budget at a town meeting Tuesday night.

The $6.12 million municipal budget passed with 105 votes in favor, two against, and four abstentions. The newly adopted budget is an increase of $102,559 or 1.7 percent over the current spending plan.

The vote came a week after residents in Beacon Falls and Prospect voted to approve Region 16’s $38.5 million budget for the coming school year at a referendum. The school budget, which is an overall increase of just about $1.2 million or 3.2 percent, increases the net education cost to Beacon Falls by $382,888 or 4.07 percent.

Following Tuesday night’s vote, the Board of Finance set the mill rate at 31.9 for Beacon Falls, an increase of .8 mills over the current mill rate.

A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value. Under the new tax rate, the tax bill for a home assessed at $200,000 would be $6,380, or $160 more.

Board of Finance Chairman Jim Huk said one of the reasons the second budget passed was it’s a very reasonable budget.

“I’m very happy that it was not only approved but approved overwhelmingly,” Huk said.

Voters also unanimously approved the transfer $66,000 from this current year’s contingency fund to pay for repairs to the firehouse roof.  

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the town had run a surplus this year in its budget and was able to take care of the roof project without bonding it.

The $6.12 million budget was the second town officials brought to a vote. The town’s original proposed budget of $6.2 million was rejected at a referendum on June 6.

Following the failed referendum, the finance board trimmed about $78,000 from the plan.

Of that, $72,000 was removed from debt service on money that would have been bonded for part of a new fire engine for Beacon Hose Company No. 1.

The funds for a fire engine will be voted on separately and were removed from the budget in part to avoid confusion.

“The idea was not to confuse the vote with capital projects of that size because it is a $700,000 expenditure. So we are going to have a separate question. We hope to do it sooner rather than later because we have to do some financing,” Smith said.

Smith said the Board of Selectmen hopes to hold a town meeting in August to address the fire truck, additional waste water treatment plant financing and additional financing to finish the Depot Street bridge.

Now that the budget has been approved, Smith said tax bills will likely go out to residents between July 5 and July 8.

“We’ll still be within state guidelines of being on time with no supplemental bills. We got in just under the wire,” Smith said.