BRATTLEBORO - With fiscal year 2013 now in the books, Brattleboro finished out the last financial period with a slight surplus, Finance Director John O'Connor told the Selectboard Tuesday night.
The General Fund actually showed a substantial surplus of $839,785, but $765,000 was used to cover capital projects slated for 2014.
That left $74,785 in surplus above what the board had budgeted for expenses in 2013.
O'Connor said that while expenses were kept under control, the town is still struggling to bring in revenue.
Delinquent taxes, O'Connor said, increased by about $150,000. The town carries over the delinquent taxes year to year, and coming into 2013 the town had about $350,000 in tax revenue that did not come in.
O'Connor said it was a complicated system, with some tax payments eventually coming in and occasional tax sales bringing in revenue, but generally, he said, Brattleboro had about $500,000 in revenue it was forced to do without at the end of 2013.
The town's Utility Fund also showed a surplus at the end of 2013. O'Connor said the fund, which is made up of the water and waste water services, had $566,389 as the year closed.
The board had expected a $438,900 loss in the utilities budget, so the surplus caused a more than $1 million swing in the utilities budget.
"That's real money," Selectboard Chairman David Gartenstein said. "Especially when we're starting to pay off a $32 million waste water plant.
Public Works Director Steve Barrett said the utilities budget showed the sharp increase in revenue largely due to an increase in customers hooking up to the municipal water and waste water systems.
He said the expansion at Commonwealth Dairy brought more revenue into the fund in 2013.
Barrett also said the warm summer caused a spike in water use.
O'Connor also said delays in completing the new $32 million waste water plant meant the town did not start to depreciate the equipment at the plant, showing an increase in the fund that Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland warned would not be repeated in 2014.
And O'Connor also reported that the Parking Fund showed a surplus of $35,802.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext. 279 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard @HowardReformer