Finance board will take time on survey

Instead of rushing to survey Wilton taxpayers about their spending priorities by March, the Board of Finance decided during its Jan. 16 meeting to aim for completing a survey by the end of the year.

During last month’s meeting, the board discussed the idea of working with New Jersey-based firm Quantisoft to conduct an anonymous online survey.

Since then, board member Richard Creeth said he’s had “a number of conversations with people” — including First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, Planning and Zoning Chair Scott Lawrence and Board of Education Chair Christine Finkelstein — and was also “contacted by a number of Wilton residents who have expertise in this area.”

“The general consensus … was that if we try to get this done by March, we’re rushing and going to end up with a less-than-quality product [and] we should take more time and do it properly,” said Creeth.

“What we’re trying to do is a statistically valid, scientifically valid survey of the Wilton taxpayers to understand what their spending priorities are. What we’re not doing is a survey to ask people if their taxes are too high.”

“Every taxpayer would like lower taxes,” said Creeth, but also they “value the services they get” from police, fire, the Department of Public Works, and Parks and Recreation.

Creeth proposed the formation of a working group composed of representatives from the Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen, Planning and Zoning, Board of Education, and Economic Development Commission.

“The object would be to agree on the scope of the survey and prepare an RFP to go out to bid and get bids on doing a survey, which would be completed before the end of the year,” he said.

The Board of Finance agreed to have Chair Jeff Rutishauser reach out to the Board of Selectmen, Planning and Zoning, Board of Education, and Economic Development Commission to get volunteers for the working group.