Wilton town budget is $400K in the black, so far
WILTON — The town budget is in good shape, and is enjoying a healthy surplus so far.
About $413,253 is in savings for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, Finance Director Anne Kelly-Lenz told the Board of Selectmen at a meeting on Oct. 5.
Two budget lines are driving the projected savings.
Moving town employees to the state plan for health benefits, as well as changes in health benefits selections, accounts for a savings of $393,403.
The board anticipated a $300,000 savings, but the number was higher due to three new hires opting out of coverage, according to Kelly-Lenz.
A $112,998 overage in property and liability insurance exists due to a change in carrier, for a savings of $506,401.
Those savings were offset by $90,317 in additional labor costs in police, fire and health, directly associated with COVID-19, and $2,831 in other operating costs, for a total projected surplus of $413,253.
The projection is based on COVID-19 growth remaining consistent with the current rate, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said. “If things change substantially, then these numbers could change,” she said.
The fiscal year ends June 30.
On the revenue side of the budget, property and other taxes are holding steady for now, Kelly-Lenz said. Conveyance taxes in the town clerk’s office are up due to the high rate of real estate and property transactions. However, the number of building permits has decreased.
Because of the expected savings, the Board of Selectmen will reconsider reductions made to the Wilton Library and Trackside grants. Both saw many of their planned fundraising events canceled due to the pandemic.
The Trackside Teen Center has seen an increase in rental fees because it is renting its entire building to the Board of Education during the day, for an approximate $40,000 rental increase, Vanderslice said.
However, that increase has been offset because the center was not able to open fully during the pandemic and has suffered some income loss, she said. The board is planning to review Trackside’s budget at its next meeting.
Wilton Library, which closed in March due to the pandemic, has seen a sizable budget deficit, Vanderslice said. The library partially reopened on Sept. 28, with patrons allowed inside the building by appointment only on a limited basis.