Council sets date, agenda for town meeting

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — Voters will determine the fate of more than the municipal budget at a town meeting next week.

The Town Council on April 28 set a town meeting for May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Prospect firehouse, 26 New Haven Road. The meeting will be in the apparatus bay of the firehouse so people can stay socially distant. People must wear face masks at the meeting.

The council typically has to hold a town meeting on the budget by May 10 each year. Officials are allowed to hold it later this year under an executive order issued by Gov. Ned Lamont in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agenda for the meeting will include votes on the proposed $9.09 million municipal budget, borrowing up to $800,000 for road work, and an amended agreement with Murphy Road Recycling.

The $9.09 million proposal decreases town spending by about $1,600 from this fiscal year.

“I’m very happy with what we ended up with and I hope the citizens agree and pass it easily,” council member Patricia Geary said.

The council committed about $244,000 in anticipated surplus funds from this fiscal year’s budget to keep overall spending in check in the 2021-22 budget.

Rather than put the surplus funds in the overall general fund, the money will be committed for the same areas in the 2021-22 budget where the surplus money originated. For example, there is an anticipated surplus of $10,000 in salt for roads. Rather than budgeting $60,000 for salt in 2021-22, the spending plan budgets $50,000 and the $10,000 surplus will be committed for buying salt next fiscal year.

The town budget does not include school spending for Region 16, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect. The Region 16 Board of Education’s $40.9 million budget proposal will be  voted on at a district meeting May 3.

The council last week also approved a resolution to borrow up to $800,000 for road repairs next fiscal year, including work on all or part of Dorothy Avenue, Clark Hill Road, Morris Road, Sherwood Drive and Wagon Wheel Drive.

Lastly, voters will be asked at the town meeting to approve an amended agreement with Murphy Road Recycling that extends the town’s contract with the Hartford-based waste management company three years to June 30, 2024. Murphy Road Recycling disposes of recyclables collected in town.

Under the agreement, the town will pay $82.50 per ton of “acceptable recyclables” in the 2021-22 fiscal year, $85 per ton in 2022-23 and $87.50 per ton in 2023-24.

The town could face penalties if 16% or more of the loads delivered to the company are materials that are not considered acceptable recyclables. The company is allowed to charge the town $115 per ton if a load contains 26% or more containments, according to the contract.