Voters OK Beacon Falls town budget

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BEACON FALLS — The 2015-16 municipal budget was approved at a town meeting April 29.

Voters approved the $6.23 million budget, which is an increase of $36,162 or 0.58 percent over the current town budget, 38-5.

“I’m gratified that the people of the town obviously saw the great work that was done collaboratively by the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen,” said First Selectman Christopher Bielik after the budget passed.

Bielik added the budget is a fair one that gives officials the opportunity to operate the town and doesn’t raise taxes prohibitively.

The town budget, assuming state revenue projections hold, is estimated to increase the mill rate about 0.1 of a mill, Bielik said.

The town budget doesn’t include education costs for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

The Board of Education’s $40.5 million 2015-16 budget was approved at a referendum Tuesday. The spending plan is an increase of $796,500 or 2 percent over current school spending. Beacon Falls’ net education cost will go up $382,621, or 3.66 percent, to $10,832,933.

The town budget includes raises for nearly all elected officials. The first selectman’s salary will increase $8,750, or $25.6 percent, while the salary for selectmen will go up $2,859, or 38.5 percent. The tax collector will receive a $2,214, or 26.2 percent, increase. The budget also includes a $1,803, or 31.6 percent, increase for the treasurer.

There are no increases for the town clerk or registrars of voters. The raises will go into effect after the November election. Elected officials are only eligible to receive raises every two years.

The budget also includes an additional $23,552 for additional part-time police officers in order to have full-time police coverage in town. There is currently two or three nights a week when the town is reliant on a state trooper, who is patrolling a section of Route 8, to provide coverage overnight.

The police department’s budget also includes a $16,879 increase for the resident state trooper program. Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal includes having towns with resident state troopers pay 100 percent of the cost of the program.

The state budget remains in flux.