Chatfield presents $7.35 million town budget

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TownSealPROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield presented his recommended budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year to the Town Council Tuesday night.

The mayor’s recommended town budget is $7.35 million, a $370,000, or a 5.3 percent, increase over the current budget.

The increase includes 3 percent raises for union employees as well as additional funds to line items the town often transfers money to throughout the year, such as snow and ice, Town Hall buildings and town trucks. Under Chatfield’s budget, the Town Hall buildings line time would increase $27,000, while the ice and snow and town trucks line items would increase $53,000 and $17,000 respectively.

“The line items we seem to transfer into during the year, I’ve increased those line items so we hopefully don’t have to transfer into them,” Chatfield told the council.

Chatfield also proposed an $80,000 increase to the town employee benefits line item.

“I do know there will be some changes coming in our medical plan to do with the national health plan and other things Anthem CMS Blue Cross has,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield’s budget recommendation also includes a new $33,600 line item for volunteer firefighters expenses.

“Many of the area departments reimburse the department for expenses,” Chatfield said. “As you know the town was kind enough to give the department a rebate off on their taxes and guess what, ladies and gentlemen, we have to pay taxes on that. So this is a reimbursement for an expense that can’t be taxed.”

Chatfield pointed out that he put a new line item called transfers under contingency. Currently, no money is proposed to be put into that line item. Chatfield said that once the town figures out what its budget will be, what the school budget will be and what the mill rate will be, the town put some funds into that line item.

Chatfield said every year the town would put additional funds into that line item and, if the town needs to transfer money into other accounts, it would come from there.

“Many towns have a couple hundred thousand dollars in a contingency line item. We never did that and I think it’s time we start,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield highlighted some of the areas in his recommended budget that are decreasing.

The debt services line item is down $14,275 due to a reduction in interest and the truck lease line item is down $20,888 because the town paid off a payloader.

Chatfield said that the debt services line item, which includes the bonds for the firehouse and senior center, will be paid off in 2016. Debt services will cost the town $52,425 in the coming fiscal year.

The Town Council accepted 24 of the line items as presented at the meeting. The Town Council’s next budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Prospect Library. A public hearing on the budget will be held April 2 at Town Hall. A town meeting on the budget will be held April 17 at Community School.