State application provides town-by-town budget information
Thanks to the state of Connecticut’s recently launched Municipal Benchmarking Application website, financial and non-financial benchmarks of key municipal information are readily available to the public.
The interactive site, which currently has fiscal year 2014 (FY14) expense and revenue data gathered by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and Department of Education, allows people to explore and better understand how resources are allocated in each municipality.
Wilton had an overall $128,305,789 expense budget for FY14, which includes general government, special revenue, capital project, and debt service funds.
At $6,864.21 per capita, Wilton’s expense budget was the third-highest compared to the socioeconomically similar towns of Darien, Easton, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Westport. Among the seven towns, Westport had the highest total expense budget per capita, at $7,649.13.
Compared to the other towns, Wilton spent the most per capita on education, at $4,284.29, while Ridgefield spent the least, at $3,205.91.
Education made up at least 50% of each town’s FY14 expense budget, but for Redding, Weston, Wilton, and Easton, it accounted for at least 60%.
At $34,069,994, education accounted for 67% of Redding’s $51,024,678 total expense budget, while Weston’s $45,750,360 in education expenses accounted for 63% of its $72,692,323 total expense budget.
Wilton’s $80,081,933 in education expenses accounted for 62% of its total expense budget, and Easton’s $25,516,586 in education expenses accounted for 60%.
Among the seven towns, Wilton had the second-highest public safety expense per capita ($705.94), health and welfare expense per capita ($104.45), and culture and recreation expense per capita ($271.33).
More than half of Wilton’s $705.94 public safety expense went to police services in FY14, while roughly 39% went to fire services and about 6% went to “other public safety,” according to the Municipal Benchmarking Application.
Nearly 70% of Wilton's health and welfare expense went to public health administration, and about 30% went to social services.
Half of Wilton’s culture and recreation expense went to library services, about 40% went to recreation, and the remainder went to “other culture and recreation.”
Among the towns, Wilton also had the fourth highest per-capita general government expense ($275.40), as well as the fifth highest public works expense per capita ($218.72) and debt service expense per capita ($487.93).
A little more than half of Wilton’s general government expense for FY14 went to “other general government,” while 29% went to financial administration, 10% to planning, and 9% to legislative.
Nearly 65% of Wilton’s public works expense went to highways and streets, according to the Municipal Benchmarking Application.
In terms of overall budget dollars, Wilton had the second highest health and welfare expense ($1,952,459), third highest culture and recreation expense ($5,071,669), and spent the fourth most in the following FY14 budget categories:
- General government ($5,147,756).
- Debt service ($9,120,335).
- Education ($80,081,933).
- Public safety ($13,195,523).
- Public works ($4,088,348).
Not only did Westport have the highest expense budget among the towns ($210,817,621), but it also spent the most in the following categories:
- Culture and recreation ($16,208,147).
- Debt service ($17,473,798).
- Education ($106,410,267).
- Health and welfare ($5,330,446).
- Public safety ($22,338,058).
- Public works ($11,503,252).
The Municipal Benchmarking application is available at ucoa.ct.gov/benchmarking .