Budget numbers are set for Wilton Annual Town Meeting

There will be five questions on the ballot at the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) and budget referendum, which will be held Tuesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Clune Center auditorium at Wilton High School.
The first question is: Shall the budget and tax rate for the fiscal year 2020 as recommended by the Board of Finance or as amended by the Town Meeting be approved, rejected because it is “too high” or rejected because it is “too low.”
The budget number being recommended by the finance board is $126,787,380, representing a zero-percent increase for the town and school operating budgets, and breaks down as follows:
1. Board of Selectmen operating budget: $32,542,102.
2. Board of Education operating budget: $81,876,563.
3. Board of Selectmen capital budget: $959,897.
4. Debt service: $10,153,497.
5. Charter authority: $1,255,321.
The corresponding mill rate is 28.5373, a 1.24 percent increase over last year.
The mill rate is the property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value, or 70 percent of market value. If a home is assessed at $700,000, the property taxes would be 700 multiplied by 28.5373 for a total of $19,976.11, compared to $19,731.25 for the current fiscal year.
There will also be four capital bonding item questions on the ballot, to be answered yes or no.
1. $3,398,150 for road work and a parking lot restoration.
2. $350,000 for town hall roof replacement.
3. $600,000 for the school district roof replacement program.
4. $1,300,000 for bridge replacement.
The $1,300,000 bridge replacement breaks down to $600,000 for replacement of the bridge on Lovers Lane and $700,000 for replacement of the bridge on Arrowhead Road. If approved, the town intends to apply to the state for reimbursement of a portion of the costs.
Other items making up the 2020 budget include:

  • Estimated revenues: $4,753,424.

  • Use of fund balance: $2,851,773.

  • Tax levy: $119,182,182.

  • Elderly and disabled tax relief: $1,210,000.

  • Tax relief for Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Georgetown: $20,750.

  • The estimated ending fund balance for FY2020 is $13,178,738.

After adjournment of the ATM on May 7, voting will follow immediately in the Clune Center lobby. Voting will continue on Saturday, May 11, at the Clune Center, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Finance Board Chairman Jeffrey Rutishauser said he wants to remind people they can comment and make motions on the floor of the ATM to reduce the school and/or town budgets. However, people cannot vote to increase the budgets.
If fewer than 15% of eligible voters cast ballots at both the ATM and adjourned vote, the operating budget automatically passes.
Absentee ballots for the ATM are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting on Wednesday, May 8 through Friday, May 10, in person at the town clerk’s office in town hall and must be returned to the town clerk by 4:30 p.m. on May 10.
All registered Wilton voters are eligible to vote on the budget and additional questions. Also, U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old, resident or nonresident, may vote if they own real property — or a motor vehicle —valued at $1,000 or more on Wilton’s last completed grand Llst.
Call the registrars of voters office at 203-563-0111 or visit wiltonct.org for more information including a sample ballot.