Unassigned fund balance at $6.4 million

The town ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with an unassigned fund balance of $6.4 million, with $300,000 accumulated during the fiscal year.

“It’s a modest increase, but the fund balance is still healthy and nearly 14% of next year’s estimated budget expenditures,” said Bill Alvarez, finance board chairman.

The fund balance can take care of any unforeseen expenses with minimal impact on the fund balance and on taxpayers, Mr. Alvarez said.

During the past fiscal year, Mr. Alvarez said, there was no budgeting to purposely increase the fund balance, but because of good management by department heads and Finance Director Steve Gniadek, the town reaped additional revenue.

The increase in the fund balance came from two sources — revenue over budget projections and savings in budget expenditures.

“We maintained our high [tax] collection rate, which has helped,” said Mr. Gniadek.

Tax Collector Patricia Moisio collected 100.2% of the budgeted current and back taxes for the fiscal year.

Overall, budget revenue was up $178,599. The major increases were in interest and lien fees collected by the tax collector and in what is called “unclassified revenue,” which derived from Connecticut Light & Power Co. rebates and an unclaimed property fund. Building inspection fees were some $30,000 over budget projections.

Park and Recreation Department revenue was nearly $86,000 below projections, which at a recent meeting Rob Blick, its director, attributed to declining attendance in some programs. Charges for services were down almost $9,000 and Heritage Center’s revenue was off by about $3,000. But the end result was a net increase in revenue.

Expenditures in the 2011-12 fiscal year were under budget by $129,610.

The town assessor’s budget was $58,223 below its expenditure projections, and there was a savings in town administrative services of some $63,000. The  town’s public safety budgets, which include the police and the communications center, among other things, saw a net savings of $44,396.

The Park and Recreation Department’s expenditures were $34,060 less than budgeted and served as a partial offset to the lower-than-anticipated revenue projections.

The largest savings in the highway department’s budget was for snow and ice control at $46,000, but $28,000 of the savings in this account was offset by a deficit in the general maintenance and repair account. Overall, the department’s budget saw a net savings of $40,438.

Mr. Alvarez cited the overall increase in the town’s unassigned fund balance, recalling that in the 2007-08 fiscal year, the fund balance had slipped to $398,000. Over the last five consecutive fiscal years the fund balance has grown every year, he said.

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