Beacon Falls ends 2019-20 with $1.3M surplus

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

BEACON FALLS — The town finished the 2019-20 fiscal year with a budget surplus of about $1.3 million, an audit showed.

Revenue during the 2019-20 fiscal year came in $799,476 more than what was budgeted, while the town spent $547,110 less than budgeted to finish with the surplus, according to the annual financial audit, which was done by the firm MahoneySabol.

The town’s total budget for 2019-20, including school expenses for Region 16, was $22.3 million.

The higher-than-expected revenue stems from $424,250 in property taxes, including back taxes and fees, collected above what was budgeted and an additional $426,622 in grant revenue.

Finance Manager Natasha Nau said the tax collector’s office did an excellent job with collections.

The bulk of the additional grant revenue, about $380,000, was a long-awaited reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for costs associated with a tornado that touched down in town in 2018, Nau said.

The town froze all discretionary spending when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Connecticut last March, Nau said. The town also didn’t spend money on budgeted items, including recreational activities and athletic field reconstruction, after the pandemic hit, she said. The combination of the spending freeze and not incurring budgeted costs were factors in the town spending less than anticipated.

“All of the little things added up,” Nau said.

The surplus boosted the town’s unassigned fund balance — funds that are not earmarked for a specific expense — to $3.7 million as of June 30, 2020, according to the audit.

The town’s policy is to keep the unassigned fund balance at a level that is at least 9.25% of the town’s budget, which would be enough to operate the town for two months. The $3.7 million is about 16.5% of the town’s total $22.6 million budget for this fiscal year.

Officials typically allocate some money from the unassigned fund balance above the 9.25% floor to pay for capital projects. The 2020-21 budget includes $362,702 from the unassigned fund balance for capital projects. Officials are continuing workshops for the 2021-22 budget.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes the pandemic hit and the town offered almost nothing for the kids trapped at home to replace summer camp or sports, and now brag about saving the money? The library girls picked up the slack to keep kids happy amidst all the complaints, and town crew working harder than ever to keep parks clean and open, and the town is proud of how they treated the employees shabby? No new playground when kids only can play outside and we should be happy about the surplus at the cost of our kids? And now cutting school jobs? No fireworks for years now? No parade even though they are outside? They clearly aren’t using the surplus to fix the roads or give us anything in return. I pay my taxes so I and my family can enjoy basic services. This includes summer camp for the kids and having potholes more than patched. But yea, a big pat on the back for giving people less services than they need and deserve in a pandemic, while they thought we were too distracted to see how they were giving us less while taking more. Time to look at what towns like Shelton give their people and demand the town step it up!