By SHERIDAN ROY
Town manager Mark Sciota reported at the Aug. 12 town council meeting the town is ready to close the books on the 2018-19 fiscal year, and he estimates that the town will show a $1.4 million surplus once the Board of Finance’s final audit results are posted in December.
“We had some very positive things on our revenue side,” said Sciota. “This is very good news, and with a $150 million budget, it’s in the 1% range.”
Sciota explained that property taxes were up about $900,000. Interest on investments were up by about $800,000, and the town clerk’s office brought in around $200,000 more in fees than anticipated.
“That means the economic development is bringing in this stuff,” said Sciota.
In addition, the town has spent $1.7 million less than anticipated in expenditures. After replacing about $1 million from the fund balance that was used last year, that brings the surplus to about $2.6 million.
Sciota said some of the money will be allocated toward some of the “carry-forwards” from last year’s budget. the money will be spent on capital projects for the 2019-20 fiscal year. On the town’s side, the BOF approved the council’s request to carry forward about $660,000. On the Board of Education’s side, there is a request to carryforward $590,000.
After subtracting the “carry-forwards,” Sciota said there is $1.4 million surplus projected for the 2018-19 budget close-out.
“With carry-forwards, the money that’s remaining in the BOE budget, instead of buying a bunch of things and spending it down, they have capital items they want to purchase in this fiscal year,” said Sciota. “It’s the same thing we do on the town side. We have budgetary things and capital things that offset the reduction of our total budget and therefore the mill rate we put into next year.”
By statute, the BOE is allowed to carry forward up to 1% of their budget into the next fiscal year for capital projects. The BOF and the town council ultimately have jurisdiction over carry-forward requests of the BOE.
Sciota said he was in favor of the request because he would rather see departments save the surplus to use on future projects than spend it.
A request will come to Sciota for specific capital items, which he then submits to the BOF for review and approval. The BOF decision then goes before the town council.
“The council looks at everything that the BOE wants to buy, just like this board looks at everything my departments want to buy,” said Sciota. “I think the system is going to work well for us in the future.”
The BOF’s final report will be released in December after their annual audit.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@ Southington Observer.com.