Voters OK transfers from general fund

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BEACON FALLS — Voters have approved three separate resolutions to transfer a total of $850,000 from the general fund surplus.

Resolutions to transfer $500,000 for road repairs, up to $100,000 to completely renovate the parking lot at Town Hall, and $250,000 to the contingency fund for the wastewater treatment plant were each approved, 15-0, at a town meeting April 16.

First Selectmen Christopher Bielik explained the contingency fund for the wastewater treatment plant once stood at over $800,000. Over the years, he said, that fund has been depleted and currently sits at about $180,000. The $250,000 transfer will bring the fund to about $430,000 — a figure, Bielik said, officials are comfortable with in case something unforeseen occurs at the plant.

The transfers came about after an audit of the 2013-14 budget showed the general fund balance had increased about $1 million.

At the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year the town’s general fund balance stood at $2.1 million, Bielik explained. The fund balance grew to about $3.1 million by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The increase was due to a combination of many factors, Bielik said, including aggressive collection of back taxes and some positions being left vacant.

Bielik said officials feel transferring $850,000 of the roughly $1 million increase is in the best interest of the town. The remaining $150,000 of the increase will stay in the general fund.

A healthy general fund is viewed favorably by rating agencies and can help a municipality receive low interest rates on bonds. Bielik said the town currently has a AA- bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, a ratings service.