Prospect closes 2010-11 fiscal year with surplus

The town of Prospect ended the 2010-11 fiscal year with a $502,000 surplus due to higher than expected revenues. FILE PHOTO

PROSPECT — The town closed out the 2010-11 fiscal year with a $502,000 surplus, according to Town Council Chair Tomas Galvin.

The town council signed off on the books for the previous fiscal year Tuesday night after adding $300,000 to the reserves.

“I’m very proud of this being that we were able to accomplish this in the worst economic period probably since the Depression,” Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

The prior fiscal year that ended in 2010 saw a surplus of $201,000, according to Galvin.

The town was able to close out the 2011 fiscal year with more money on its books despite unanticipated expenses from heavy snow storms last winter.

“We spent more money than we had on our budget, and we also had more revenues that we anticipated,” Galvin said.

The extra revenues came from the collection of back taxes and a surplus returned to the town from the Region 16 school district.

Chatfield added the town also collected on 102 percent of taxes due.

The town tax collector had a historic year in collecting back taxes from 2007 to 2009, collecting an extra $200,000 in old tax bills, according to Galvin. That includes $127,682 from one company in the industrial park, according to Chatfield. Region 16 refunded Prospect $146,000 in unused educational funds. That money will be deducted from Prospect’s next school payment.

“That combined with our overall frugal approach … allowed us to enjoy a surplus now going into this year,” Galvin said.

The extra revenues will go into the town’s surplus to use for unexpected expenses.

Some of the funds will probably go towards the cleanup costs of the October snow storm, Galvin said. According to Chatfield, when it’s all said and done the town will have spent between $350,000 and $450,000 on storm cleanup. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay 75 percent of that cost.

“That is the exact thing that the rainy day fund, I guess this would be a snowy day fund, exists for,” Galvin said.

Some money may also go towards expenses from Tropical Storm Irene, although Chatfield said that was not as expensive since there was no snow and fewer trees came down.

Chatfield said he hoped the surplus will improve the town’s bond rating and help them secure a lower interest rate for the Region 16 school building project, which is anticipated to come in under 2 percent.

He said bond agencies like to see 5 percent of the town budget in surplus. For Prospect’s $6.9 million budget, 5 percent would be about $345,000.