The Town of Brookhaven's budget surplus grew last year to $11.6 million, according to a report prepared for town officials by an independent auditor.

The surplus allowed town officials to avoid an anticipated $3.1 million budget deficit and helped to boost budget reserves by 21.2 percent to $86.2 million at the end of 2014, town officials said in a news release.

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The 88-page audit was prepared by Hauppauge-based Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Co., which was paid $225,000, Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in an interview.

"This is the first time in a long time that the town ended the year with a surplus where we didn't have to rely on reserve funds. That's a real positive for the town," Romaine said. "The audit said Brookhaven is headed in the right direction."

The audit credited increased revenue from sources such as landfill and trash fees, and a $1 million spending cut in the town's $87 million general fund, for the town's improved finances.

Romaine said decreased reliance on reserve funds to balance the budget make it less likely town officials will have to consider piercing the state tax cap.

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"If we continue to pay down debt and stay on top of spending . . . that can only benefit the taxpayer," he said.