Wilton is sixth-richest town
With the state budget still in turmoil — and Gov. Dannel Malloy insistent that Connecticut’s towns and cities share in the “pain” of closing the gap between revenues and expenditures — many are concerned the state’s wealthiest towns may be expected to shoulder more of the burden.
Based on per capita income, Wilton is the sixth wealthiest town in Connecticut. According to the latest information from the Office of Policy and Management’s Municipal Fiscal Indicators report, Wilton’s per capita income for 2015 was $78,131, which is 201.4% of the statewide per capita income of $38,803.
The top five of the state’s 169 municipalities and their percentage of statewide per capita income are:
- New Canaan — $105,846 — 272.8%;
- Westport — $97,395 — 251.0%;
- Darien — $96,767 — 249.4%;
- Weston — $92,794 — 239.1%;
- Greenwich — $90,087 — 232.2%.
Right behind Wilton in seventh place is neighboring Ridgefield with a per capita income of $75,634, 194.9% of the statewide average.
When it comes to median household income, Wilton moves up to the third spot for 2015 with $172,095, 244.7% of the statewide average of $70,331.
Just ahead are Weston in the top spot with $217,171, 308.8% of the statewide average and Darien with $208,906, 297.0% of the statewide average.
Rounding out the top five just after Wilton are New Canaan — $168,311/239.3% and Westport — $162,907/231.6%.
At the other end of the spectrum, the towns and cities with the lowest per capita income and percentage of statewide income are:
- Bridgeport — $21,002/54.1%;
- Waterbury — $20,685/53.3%;
- Windham — $19,783/51.0%;
- Mansfield — $19,613/50.5%;
- Hartford — $17,311/44.6%.
Connecticut’s major cities are at the bottom end of the median household income spectrum:
- Waterbury — $40,467/57.5%;
- New Britain — $40,457/57.5%;
- New Haven — $37,192/52.9%;
- New London — $36,250/51.5%;
- Hartford — $30,630/43.6%.
Wilton is also near the top in debt per capita for fiscal year 2015 at $3,981, which places it in 12th position. New Canaan also leads the pack here, with $6,066 debt per capita.
Wilton comes in fourth for adjusted tax levy per capita for fiscal year 2015 at $6,025. On top are its neighbors:
- Westport — $6,401;
- Weston — $6,328;
- New Canaan — $6,149.
Five more Fairfield County towns round out the top nine with tax levies of $5,382 to $4,813: Darien, Greenwich, Easton, Redding, and Ridgefield.
Property tax revenue makes up 89.1% of Wilton’s total revenue, while state and federal funding makes up 8.8%.
In terms of spending, Wilton’s spending has increased 83.5% from 2002 to 2015, $57.7 million to $126.7 million, according to a chart compiled by the CT Mirror. Inflation was 33%. Since 2011 it has increased 13.8%, while the rate of inflation was just under 6%.
Many of Connecticut’s towns are in better shape when it comes to financial reserves than the state, which has enough money set aside to cover only about 1% of its operating budget. Wilton, in 2015, had $15.3 million, or 12.1% of its budget. Generally, towns need a reserve of 5% to maintain an Aaa rating, Moody’s highest. Wilton is one of 17 Aaa rated towns in Connecticut.
Unlike the state, which has massive unfunded liabilities in its pension plans, Wilton is in good shape.
The Wilton Employees’ Retirement Plan (pensions) is a closed plan with 548 participants. As of July 1, 2014, the total pension liability was $109.4 million. The fiduciary net position as a percentage of that liability was 91.5%. The actuarially determined contribution for the 2104-15 fiscal year was just over $3 million, and a 115% contribution was made.
It’s Other Post-Employment Benefits Plan, which offers health insurance, has 757 participants. As of July 1, 2014, the actuarial accrued liability was $7.67 million and was 57.4% funded. The FY 2014-15 municipal annual required contribution was $710,251, of which 100% was made.
Actuarial accrued liability is the estimated value of the benefits promised to employees based on service already rendered. The annual required contribution is the amount the municipal employer would be required to contribute to a defined benefit plan for the year in order to fund the actuarial accrued liability over time.
Unemployment in Wilton in Nov. 2016 was 3%, compared to other municipalities like Ansonia, Bridgeport, and Hartford, all of which were over 7%.