Council OKs budget

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Public hearing Tuesday on proposed spending plan

Prospect Town Council Chairman Tom Galvin, left, and council member Stan Pilat look over the budget during a workshop March 31 at Town Hall. –LUKE MARSHALL
Prospect Town Council Chairman Tom Galvin, left, and council member Stan Pilat look over the budget during a workshop March 31 at Town Hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

PROSPECT — Residents will have the chance to voice their opinions on the town’s proposed budget Tuesday night.

The Town Council will host a public hearing on its 2015-16 spending plan at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The proposed $7.78 million budget is an increase of $213,542, or 2.82 percent, over the current budget.

The council approved the budget Wednesday night after a series of workshops over several weeks.

The police budget will see on of the largest increases. The budget is set to go up $37,000 to $828,788 under the proposal. The increase includes $28,500 more for salaries and a $21,000 increase to the resident state trooper program.

These costs were offset by an approximate $11,000 decrease in the cost of gas and repairs for the police department’s vehicles and a $5,000 decrease in the cost of training.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said during a workshop shop last week the town could see up to another $30,000 increase in the cost of the resident state trooper program if Gov. Dan Malloy’s plan to make municipalities pay 100 percent of the cost of the trooper is approved by the state.

The budget proposal also includes a $30,000 increase for health insurance and $3,500 to establish the town’s first blight commission.

The budget includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for 17 unionized town employees. It includes a 5 percent pay increase for the town clerk and tax collector. It also includes a $1,893 pay increase for Chatfield himself. The pay raise represents a 2.4 percent increase. The non-union employees, including Chatfield, have not received raised in at least two years.

The proposed budget doesn’t include education costs for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. The Region 16 Board of Education has proposed a $40.5 million 2015-16 budget. The school spending plan is an increase of $796,500 or 2 percent over current school spending. Prospect’s net education costs will increase $502,894 or 3.01 percent to $17,224,839 under the spending plan.

The Town Council will meet immediately after the public hearing Tuesday to review the budget and possibly make changes based on what it heard from the public. A town meeting to vote on the budget is scheduled for April 22 at 7 p.m. at Community School.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.