Town Council OKs budget proposal

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — The Town Council on April 21 approved a $9.09 million municipal budget proposal to send to a public vote, though when and where the vote will be was to be determined.

The council backed the budget proposal for 2021-22 after some adjustments that changed a small spending increase into a slight decrease. The $9.09 million proposal decreases town spending by about $1,600 over this fiscal year.

The council used anticipated surplus funds from this fiscal year to help keep spending in check in the 2021-22 budget. Rather than put the surplus funds in the overall general fund, the money will be committed for the same areas in the 2021-22 budget where the surplus money originated.

For example, there is an anticipated surplus of $10,000 in salt for roads. Rather than budgeting $60,000 for salt in 2021-22, the spending plan budgets $50,000 and the $10,000 surplus will be committed for buying salt next fiscal year.

The proposal commits about $244,000 in anticipated surplus funds to the 2021-22 budget. The $244,000 includes $83,000 in federal reimbursement the town expects to receive for costs related to a storm last August. The additional $83,000 was added to the budget April 21 and allowed the council the turn a small spending increase into a decrease.

The council also approved a resolution to bond $800,000 for road repairs next fiscal year.

Officials originally thought the council could approve the budget and bonding like it did last year due to state restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said last week that is not the case.

The budget and bonding resolution will go to a town meeting for a vote. Officials are still determining how to best conduct the meeting. The council is expected to meet this week to set a date and place for the town meeting.

The town budget does not include school spending for Region 16, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect. The Region 16 Board of Education’s $40.9 million budget proposal will be voted on at a district meeting May 3.

The school budget proposal increases overall spending for the region by $253,657. Prospect’s net education cost is projected to increase $854,424 to about $21.4 million based on revenue projections and an increase in the percentage of students from town.