Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the proposed $6.28 million municipal budget alone would increase the town’s mill rate by 1.4 mills to 32.5 mills. Of the 1.4 projected mill rate increase only 0.1 mill can be attributed the proposed operating budget of Beacon Falls. The remaining 1.3 mill increase stemmed from the proposed Region 16 budget, which was defeated at a referendum May 7.
BEACON FALLS — After months of deliberation, the town has a proposed municipal budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The proposed budget is $6.28 million, which is an increase of $270,000, or 4.4 percent, over the current budget. The Board of Finance approved the proposal last Wednesday night to move it to a public hearing.
The public hearing will be held May 22 at 7 p.m. at the firehouse on North Main Street.
The proposal is based on the current level of state funding the town receives. The state has not yet approved its budget.
The municipal budget proposal will increase the town’s current mill rate of 31.1 by 0.1 mills, according to Board of Finance Chairman James Huk.
A proposed $38.8 million budget for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, would have increased the mill rate for Beacon Falls by 1.3 mills, he said.
The Region 16 budget was defeated at a referendum Tuesday and the Board of Education is scheduled to meet May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Long River Middle School in Prospect for a budget workshop.
Among the largest expenses town officials debated throughout budget workshops were a new fire engine for Beacon Hose Company No. 1 to replace the current engine, which is 25 years old, and repairs to the roof at the firehouse.
The board voted to use $300,000 from the sale of the town’s cell tower on Lopus Road to repair the roof at the firehouse, which is estimated to cost $100,000. The remaining $200,000 will go towards a deposit on the new fire engine. A new fire engine is estimated to cost $700,000.
The remainder of the cost of the fire engine would be bonded out, depending on public approval.
The cost of the debt services for the bond in the proposed budget is $72,000, Huk said.
“This was a challenging process, largely because of the extended discussions needed to understand the proposed financing and the fire truck, and I’m proud of the way the board came together throughout the process to come to this final proposal,” Huk said in an email.
The budget also includes a raise of approximately $15,000 for the position of first selectman, which would take effect after the elections in November.
First Selectman Gerard Smith said he could not support the budget that the Board of Finance approved. However, he did acknowledge how much work went into crafting the budget.
“A lot of hard work and hours were put into the budget by the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance, and I appreciate that,” Smith said. “There’s a few more items where I feel we could save money and reduce the budget overall.”