BY ANDREAS YILMA
PROSPECT — Town officials approved two transfers of funds totaling more than $40,000 with the majority of funds directed toward upgrade of the municipal phone services for 911 dispatches.
The Prospect Town Council on Jan. 17 approved the transfer of $39,000 from the fund balance to three line items: $30,000 for telephones, $1,000 for town clerk supplies and $8,000 for the town clerk assistant.
The town budgeted $40,000 and spent $61,000 last year. Officials this year budgeted $50,000 for the current budget and should have put more in the line item for phones, Mayor Robert J. Chatfield said.
“The phone bill includes new upgrades to emergency services, police, fire department, town phones, internet and internet service in the police car,” Chatfield said.
The phone lines are dedicated cable lines for 911 calls to the dispatch center in Waterbury. This will also include maintenance agreements.
Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said he’s talked to Chatfield and they’ve talked to the provider, Frontier. The town has dedicated lines for all emergency services in town that it previously did not have before.
“All this stuff is what happened in the increase that was pretty much something that we sat on our heels and never saw coming; but it was something that we needed to upgrade and this is where we’re at now,” Slapikas said.
Slapikas said he wasn’t happy with the situation and how town officials found out last minute about the increase. The town is close to spending its alloted expenditure for the fiscal year and town officials might have to transfer more money before the fiscal year is over at the end of June.
The $8,000 transfer for the town clerk assistant is due to the turnover in the town clerk’s office. Town Clerk Michelle Lisowski has had two people leave that office. The town clerk’s office also needed additional funding to order books that the office houses land records in.
Lisowski said she hopes needing extra support staff isn’t something that’s going to be needed annually.
“We were down a support person for many years,” Lisowski said. “I’m finally at full staff so I hope to keep it that way.”
The second transfer was for $4,000 from the line item of election workers to supplies and is to buy four voting booths to stand and vote at during elections. Each booth is about $925.
Chatfield said the additional voting booths for schools will help lines move more quickly if it’s a big election. The transfer between line items is within the budget.
Town Council member Theresa C. Graveline said it’s a mandate for voting under the statues that a municipality has one voting booth for every 250 electors. The town has about 6,500 to 7,000 electorsm which mean the town needs 28 booths. The four new booths will translate to 16 voting spaces of the 28 that the town needs.
The current voting booths are old and falling apart with pieces missing, Graveline said.