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Wallingford Mayor: $800,000 Grant Probably Going Away in 2013-14

While the town government succeeded in limiting spending in the 2011-12 fiscal year, ending in a $1.7 million surplus, Mayor William Dickinson said the state grant money contributed to roughly half of those savings.

Wallingford ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with $1.7 million in unspent funds, or monies left over after evaluating the town’s expenditures and revenues, said Mayor William Dickinson Jr.

But the savings were garnered in part because Wallingford received an $800,000 machinery grant from the state, Dickinson explained, meaning the town was able to offset other expenditures because of the extra revenue in the $141.4 million budget in 2012.

And while that grant is still here in the current fiscal year, the mayor said it would probably not be here next year.

“You can’t pretend that that’s going to happen every year,” Dickinson said.

With 2013 now kicking off, Wallingford and other towns and cities in the state will be spending the next several months crafting budgets for the 2013-14 fiscal year. At the same time, the General Assembly just went into session, crafting its own state budget.

Every year, towns and cities in Connecticut typically have to adjust their own budgets based on what grants, funding and other subsidies are coming from the state — and whether any of those funds will be reduced from the previous year.

The Record Journal reported Tuesday Dickinson’s address to the town during the Town Council meeting, where the mayor highlighted Wallingford’s current fiscal responsibility. The newspaper also reported back in December that, despite the surplus, town leaders need to be aware that budget cuts may be looming from the state level.

As for the $1.7 million in unspent funds, Dickinson said he wouldn’t call it a surplus but, rather, a “budget balance for the fiscal year.”

He said the extra funds will be held in the town’s general fund — or rainy day fund, an account where unspent taxpayer dollars are kept. This will assist Wallingford in maintaining its AAA bond rating, Dickinson noted.

But, he said that money will probably be used as part of the town’s 2013-14 budget, depending on what the state does in terms of cuts to the $800,000 grant.

“At least half of that money was due to a grant that we received from the state that we didn’t expect and probably won’t repeat,” Dickinson said.

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