Survey: Wilton taxpayers attracted by schools, support police

Following are the results of key questions on the taxpayer survey conducted by the Board of Finance’s survey subcommittee, as presented to the board on Dec. 18. There were 1,411 responses to the survey.

See related story HERE

See survey results HERE

Thinking back to when you first moved into Wilton, which of the following would you say are reasons why you chose Wilton? Select all that apply.

81% Quality of schools.
50% Affordability of housing.
38% Location.
37% Safety.
36% Family orientation of Wilton.
30% Reasonable property taxes.
28% Commutation convenience.
21% Town vibe.
20% Proximity to family or friends.
3% Proximity to place of worship.

Thinking about the property taxes you pay, how do they compare to neighboring towns of Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Easton, and Redding?

64% Wilton is higher.
23% About the same.
5% Wilton is less.

Perception of current level of spending for Wilton schools.

41% Too High.
34% About Right.
18% Too Low.
7% Don’t Know.

How do you think the Wilton school system compares to other schools in its District Reference Group — Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Easton, and Redding?

39% Among Top Few.
51% Middle of the Pack.
10% Among the Bottom Few.

If ensuring Wilton schools were among the top in its District Reference Group meant your town property taxes would be increased by 1% annually would you be:

Open to a 1% tax increase? 55% Yes.
Open to a 2% tax increase? 42% Yes.
Open to a 3% tax increase? 31% Yes.
Open to a 4% tax increase? 24% Yes.
Open to a 5% tax increase? 19% Yes.     

If you could increase the amount of funding for just one of the following areas, which would it be?

27% Economic Development Investment.
27% Schools.
9% Public Works (road maintenance, snow plowing, etc...).
5% Public Safety (Police, Fire, Ambulance).
5% Parks & Recreation.
5% Purchasing/Developing Open Space.
3% Wilton Library.
3% Environmental Issues or Initiatives.
3% Social Services/Senior Center.

Hypothetically, if you were put in charge of reducing the tax paid per household, which of the following would you do? Select all that apply.

79% Utilize shared services with other towns.
70% Invest in economic development in an attempt to grow the grand list.
39% Reduce funding for historic preservation.
35% Reduce funding for the Trackside Teen Center.
27% Reduce funding for schools.
25% Reduce funding for environmental issues and initiatives.
19% Reduce funding for Social Services/Senior Center.
18% Reduce funding for the Wilton Library.
13% Reduce funding for Parks & Recreation.
10% Reduce funding for Public Safety.
3% Reduce funding for Public Works.
4% None of these.

For those who responded positively to investing in economic development: Which of the following do you think the town should pursue in growing the grand list? Select all that apply.

76% More commercial retail/development.
73% Offer tax incentives to major corporations who are willing to invest in Wilton.
45% Allow denser housing in appropriate locations.
37% Double down on amenity investments in town to encourage development and raise property prices overall.
32% Hire a full-time economic development manager to pursue all of these goals.
17% New user fees where appropriate.
11% Other.

How do you feel about the town of Wilton exploring the possibility of the following shared services:

Shared Police Force
32% Somewhat support.
29% Strongly support.

Shared Town Hall Services
32% Somewhat support.
37% Strongly support.

Shared Transfer Station
30% Somewhat support.
55% Strongly support.

Are you satisfied with the following Wilton Police Department responsibilities?

Overall level of safety
97% Yes.
3% No.

Current level of traffic enforcement
84% Yes.
16% No.

Current level of neighborhood patrols
88% Yes.
12% No.

Did you vote on the budget in May 2018?

60% Yes, I voted
35% No, I did not vote
5% I don’t know, don’t recall