From Town Hall: Support Wilton — Vote yes for the town budget

The Town of Wilton’s Annual Town Meeting will be held at Middlebrook School’s auditorium on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Please plan to attend this important meeting, during which the town’s fiscal budget for 2016 will be presented.
Bonded capital project requests approved unanimously by both the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will also be presented, which represent essential maintenance and safety investments for our community. Voting will follow the meeting and an adjourned vote will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wilton High School’s Clune Center.
The proposed FY16 budget for the Town of Wilton is summarized below:
Given other calculations relating to the grand list, debt service and the town’s fund balance, the FY16 budget will require a +1.196% mill rate increase, which is significantly less than the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Consumer Price Index that has averaged +1.7% per year over the past five years.
From the start of the budget process, critical planning objectives have focused on protecting the core services that we believe the Wilton community values — supporting our excellent education system, enhancing public safety and security, preserving the town’s infrastructure and maintaining other essential services.
At the May 5 meeting, three essential bonded capital investments will be presented for approval by the town. These long-scheduled maintenance investments include funds for architectural and engineering design/schematics for the renovation of the strategically located, 58-year-old Fire Station 2; the planned replacement of a 25-year-old HVAC chiller unit and 30-year-old ventilators at Middlebrook School and scheduled repaving of +20-year-old deteriorated parking lots at the high school and at Middlebrook School. In summary, these are key maintenance investments that the Board of Selectmen feels are required at this time and are consistent with our strategic objectives, which follow:
1. Provide dependable public safety and emergency services to the community and continue efforts to improve security in school and town facilities.
2. Make required infrastructure and facility investments to preserve and maintain town and school assets.
3. Maintain our commitment to energy conservation and support lower cost energy efficiency initiatives and investments.
4. Develop a cost-efficient operating expenditures and capital budget to accomplish the above goals and to respond to the Board of Finance’s mill rate objectives.
To accomplish these goals, regular equipment maintenance, planned vehicle replacements and periodic renovations are the foundation of a cost-efficient municipal capital improvement/management plan. Therefore, the Board of Selectmen respectfully requests that voters approve all of the proposed projects.
In summary, town departments and the major boards comprised of your neighbors and mine have spent months thoughtfully developing, analyzing and debating proposed FY16 budget and capital bonding projects. As Wilton is privileged to have elected volunteers that work well together for the benefit of our community, eventually consensus was reached by the Boards of Selectmen, Education and Finance! Consequently, we strongly believe the FY 16 Town of Wilton budget proposal is a very cost-effective budget that deserves every citizen’s support.
On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I respectfully urge your approval of the FY16 budget and the three proposed bonded capital requests. Please vote on May 5 at the Annual Town Meeting or Saturday, May 9. Thank you for your support and for voting on these important community matters.