Mayor seeks 5 percent spending increase

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PROSPECT — Mayor Bob Chatfield on Tuesday unveiled a proposed $6.9 million 2010-11 budget that would increase spending by 5 percent.

The spending plan is an increase of $327,107 from the current year’s $6.6 million, Chatfield told Town Council members at Town Hall.

Most of the increase is due to several factors including life insurance, Social Security, revaluation and a spike in bonding payments for the firehouse on New Haven Road, he said.

Mayor Bob Chatfield says a 5 percent budget increase is needed to cover costs of revaluation, life insurance, bond payments and raises
Mayor Bob Chatfield says a 5 percent budget increase is needed to cover costs of revaluation, life insurance, bond payments and raises

The proposal includes 2 percent pay raises for town employees, except public works, he said. Town employees took a wage freeze in the current budget. He said the town is currently in negotiations with the public works department.

He noted that elected officials do not receive pay increases during the time they are in office.

It’s too early to say how the proposed budget would affect the town’s current tax rate of 25 mills, Chatfield said.

A mill is equal to $1 in tax for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. A home with an assessed value of $200,000 pays $5,000 in taxes under the current tax rate.

The council set several budget workshops, the first at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the library, 17 Center St. A hearing on the budget will be April 5, and a town meeting, April 20.

Under the proposal, Chatfield recommended $50,000 to begin revaluation. The total cost, about $180,000, would be split between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 budget years, he said.

The plan has a total of $644,750 budgeted for benefits for town employees, which is an increase of $110,481. Prospect also budgeted $170,000 for the town’s share of social security, an increase of $20,000.

Council members questioned the “odd” one-year spike in the bonding payment for the firehouse, which was built in 1998 for about $3.5 million. This year, the payment is $190,000, and next year’s is $235,000. The payment in 2008-09 budget year was $190,000.

Chatfield said he is not sure why the spike occurred, but he does have documents at Town Hall that could provide the council with details.

The budget only includes municipal expenses and does not include Region 16 school system expenses.