Wilton triboard will meet to discuss budgets

WILTON — A triboard meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education and Board of Finance will be held Monday, Nov. 2, to discuss the current budgets and reserve as well as the upcoming FY 2022 budgets.

Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz discussed the town and school budgets with the finance board on Oct. 13.

The FY 2021 town budget currently has a reserve of $2,969,160 for the finance board’s Charter Authority, which the board has set aside to keep on hand for unexpected expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Use of the $2.96-million Charter Authority funds is yet to be determined. Possible funding considerations include final reopening needs of the schools, town road paving projects, and mitigation of grant reductions made this year to Wilton Library and Trackside Teen Center.

The town budget has a projected $413,253 surplus, realized primarily from savings that resulted in switching the town employees’ healthcare plan to the state plan.

Revenues for FY 2021 are currently forecast $68,942 lower than the budget, Kelly-Lenz said, mainly due to building permit application fees trending lower than budgeted due to COVID, and a reduction in senior center and swimming fees. On the positive side, conveyance taxes are trending higher due to increased real estate sales.

The Board of Education is forecasting a budget shortfall of approximately $452,513 for a number of reasons related to the pandemic, Kelly-Lenz said.

The school board incurred additional expenses due to hiring extra custodial staff and positions for the new school schedule. In addition, there were costs due to the purchase of safety supplies, safety equipment, school signs and classroom supplies — including PPE, sneeze guards/barriers and hand sanitizer.

To mitigate these expenses, the school board has received various state grants to date but is still waiting on final FEMA approval, Kelly-Lenz said.

The Nov. 2 triboard meeting will be hosted by the Board of Selectmen and will be available for the public to watch virtually.