Town Hall meeting leads with fiscal education, understanding

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Betty Pamplin explained each item on the budget to the attendees and those on Zoom.

Prosper Town Staff held an informal town hall on Aug. 26 to present and answer questions about the 2021-2022 Town budget. 

This meeting, led by Prosper Finance Director Betty Pamplin, gave an overview of the budget as well as detailed information about each department.  Additionally, the hiring of future employees for the town was discussed, as well as town growth.

“The objective of this meeting is to inform citizens about the budget process and to engage them,” Pamplin said.  “We want to develop an open dialogue to explain the components of developing a budget and to keep with the town’s ongoing commitment to keep citizens informed about the budget and how resources are used.”  [Text Wrapping Break] 

Pamplin explained each item on the budget to the attendees and those on Zoom.  Additionally, Pamlin gave an explanation for any increase in the budget, most commonly associated with hiring more staff.  “As the Town continues to grow, we will need to increase our staff in a number of areas,” Pamplin said.  “We will need more police officers and firefighters, as well as more equipment.  Additionally, we will need more people to accept payments here at Town Hall.  It is part of being a place where people want to live, and I am excited that we are able to hire more quality employees.”   

There is a fund balance with some more savings than the Prosper Town Council would like.  “We have accelerated our Capital Improvement Plans so that we are improving the roads and infrastructure,” Pamplin said.  That will increase our spending some to better meet the requirements of the Council.”   

“Every year we do a five year projection,” Pamplin said.  “We anticipate an increased growth in population of 7% a year and conservatively anticipate retail to increase about 8%.  This helps us anticipate what we may need to budget for in the future.” 

“The next steps in the budget process is that there will be a public hearing along with Council voting on the budget at their September 14th meeting here at Town Hall.  October 1st 2021 is when the fiscal year begins.”   

Chris Kern attended the town hall meeting. 

“I like to take advantage of the opportunities when the Town staff makes them available,” Kern said.  “It is important to attend the meetings. They are gracious to offer the opportunity to learn about this and provide the information.  I want to ask them questions when they are making this information available.

“I am happy that they are accelerating the Capital Improvement Plan,” Kern said.  “I would like to see the taxes lower but I am glad that they are using the surplus to take care of the infrastructure.  

“I feel like people do not use the tools that are available on the website. The dashboards and information on the website make it so easy for us to find information.  The Town focuses on communication and there is information there if you look for it.  The Town has advanced their communication through meetings, social media, and press releases.  The staff is also so good at answering questions. I have always been impressed by that.” 

Kelly Wilson also attended the meeting. 

“I am a resident here in Prosper and am interested in the budget,” Wilson said.  “With the bond and the growth there is a lot going on in this budget and I was curious how they were handling it. “I want people to come to events like this, and ask questions. Government budgeting is different from the private sector and this can be confusing.  You pay the taxes for these services, so I want people to be invested in learning about the Town budget and the process.”