Prospect budget passes at town meeting

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PROSPECT — Residents unanimously approved the town’s $7.8 million 2015-16 budget last week.

The budget, which is an increase of $233,000 over the current budget, was unanimously approved at a town meeting April 22. About 90 people attended the meeting, according to Mayor Robert Chatfield.

Chatfield said the budget increase is the smallest increase the town has had in many years.

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. The pay raise represents a 2.4 percent increase.
Elected officials are only eligible to receive raises every two years.

The ice and snow removal budget is going up $42,000, which includes raises for public works employees, $7,000 more for salt and $5,000 more for contractors.

The police budget is increasing about $37,000 due to police officer salaries going up and a $21,000 increase to the resident state trooper program.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal includes having towns pay 100 percent of the cost of their resident troopers.

The town budget doesn’t include education costs for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. The town’s budget is only about 25 percent of the tax bill for residents. The remainder is for education spending.

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 vote on the school budget is next week.

Town officials are waiting on the school budget and the state budget before they set the mill rate for 2015-16.

“I’m not ready to make a guess on the mill rate. More so than ever we are unsure of state revenues,” Chatfield said.

Residents also unanimously approved bonding $600,000 for road repairs, Chatfield said.

The money will be used to mill and repave approximately 6 miles of roads, including Straitsville Road from Lakeview Drive to Route 68, Cook Road from Route 69 to Hemlock Road, the entirety of Radio Tower Road, and Matthew Street from Juggernaut Road to Blue Trail Drive.

Chatfield said the work will be done in July and August.