Prospect municipal budget eyes increase

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BY ANDREAS YILMA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

PROSPECT — Town officials have proposed a budget with an increase of 4.5% in municipal spending over this current fiscal year after making some reductions.

The Town Council worked to reduce the 2023-24 initial proposed budget increase of about $1 million submitted by Mayor Robert J. Chatfield to a $428,431 increase. The council voted to send the proposed budget to a Town Meeting on May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.

Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas subsequently said the council members worked hard as a group to reduce some funds.

None of the town departments are spending above what they should as most of the departments helped.

“I’m happy with the budget. I think it’s pretty good considering what other towns are doing,” said Slapikas, who alluded to other towns in the state having an 8% or 9% proposed budget increases.

Chatfield committed some funds from the current fiscal year to the next budget to help with reductionsthat includes moving forward $10,000 from solid waste, $2,000 from town trucks gasoline and $3,000 from the substitute staff line item.

Some of the proposed budget drivers are 3% salary increases — resulting in an increase of $100,592; solid waste jumping up by $120,755; town buildings increasing by $63,000; fire hydrants going up $19,671; cyber insurance going up by $23,125; and public works maintenance jumping up by $35,400, Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said.

Chatfield said he has always fought for fire hydrants and the water company will be installing four new fire hydrants.

“The 3% of the salary for the union contract is 25% of our increase,” Slapikas said. “Solid waste picks up another 25%.”

Slapikas said everything has gone up and none of the town’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, or COVID-19 relief funds, could be used to reduce the budget.

“All the costs of anything to do business have increased substantially since Covid and we have to take the brunt of it and roll with it,” Slapikas said. “All costs are up.”

Chatfield also requested $900,000 for the five year plan proposed capital projects.

For the upcoming fiscal year, the expected roads to be worked on include Allison Court, Amber Court, Buckley Lane, Chandler Drive, Nancy Mae Avenue, Melissa Lane, Maple Drive Peach Orchard Road, Merriman Lane, Robindale Drive, Cambridge Drive and Woodcrest Drive.