Mayor proposes $7.8M town budget

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PROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield presented a $7.8 million municipal budget proposal for 2015-16 to the Town Council Tuesday night.

The spending plan is an increase of $251,687, or 3.32 percent, over the current town budget.

“This is what it takes to keep our town running — the library, senior center, fire department, parks and especially the public works. This is everything that makes the town tick,” Chatfield said.

The largest increase in the budget proposal is $112,093 for principal payments on debt, which includes a $75,000 payment for road safety improvements made last year.

Town employee benefits are also set to increase $44,937, and Chatfield is seeking $42,000 more for the ice and snow removal. The increase in the snow budget is due mostly to the increased costs of salt and sand, Chatfield said.

Some areas of the budget are going down.

The town buildings budget decreased $11,000 due to a significant savings in heating, and the land use inspector budget decreased $15,000 due to changes in that department.

Chatfield pointed out that the increase in the 2014 grand list will help offset the increase to the municipal budget.

The town’s net grand list for Oct. 1, 2014 is $823.85 million, an increase of $11.1 million or about 1.37 percent from 2013. Using the current mill rate of 28.98, the increase in the grand list represents approximately $324,000 in new tax revenue.

The town’s budget proposal doesn’t include expenses for Region 16, which oversees schools in Prospect and Beacon Falls. The majority of residents’ tax dollars goes toward the school budget.

The council accepted 26 line items, which had little or no changes, in the budget proposal Tuesday night. These items included the town’s 911 service, the youth summer activities and the probate court.

The council will now review the spending plan over a series of upcoming workshops. The budget is scheduled to go to a public hearing on April 7 and be approved via town meeting on April 22.