Wallingford scrutinizes leftover funding for decades-old, closed out town projects

Wallingford scrutinizes leftover funding for decades-old, closed out town projects

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WALLINGFORD — The Town Council is considering changes to how the money in the town’s Capital and Nonrecurring Expenditure Fund is reported to give councilors a better understanding of the amount of unspent funds.

“Cap and Non” — as it is often referred to — is an account for capital improvements for which the town is authorized to issue bonds. This includes road paving, sidewalk repair or park improvements.

Several closed-out projects — some dating back to the 1960s — have a total of $1.2 million in unspent residual, or leftover, funds.

The amount in active, unfinished projects — at least one going back to 2010 — is $2.6 million. The Town Charter defines a Cap and Non project as inactive if no money is spent in three years.

Councilor Chris Shortell brought the issue to the council’s attention in April. He inquired about the closed-out capital projects and whether the leftover money can be reallocated for other capital projects.

During the April 30 meeting, Comptroller Jim Bowes said he believed the Town Council could move the money to a new line item without the approval of the mayor.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said Friday that although money potentially can be moved around within Cap and Non, funds cannot be taken out once they are there, as per the Town Charter.

Moving money around within Cap and Non could be problematic because the Town Council has passed ordinances to fund and bond each of the capital projects. The Town Council would have to amend those ordinances to be able to free that funding for another capital project, Dickinson said.

The amount of leftover funds from projects in Cap and Non currently is not listed on any report given to councilors nor in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The discussion of changes as to how the Cap and Non account is reported continued at a meeting of the Town Council ordinance committee earlier this week, with Bowes and Town Corporation Counsel Janis M. Small.

“We agreed on Tuesday to have that number reported out to us annually by April 1 each year in conjunction with the release of the mayor’s budget,” Shortell said. “Doing so gives the Town Council, and by extension the public, greater visibility into the health of the account.”

The council asked Small to word a potential ordinance requiring this reporting for review at the next ordinance committee meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 4.



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