Mill rate set to 27.3371

During its April 7 mill rate meeting, the Board of Finance settled on a 27.3371 mill rate for fiscal year 2017, representing a 1.89% increase over the current 26.83 rate.

There was a 1.196% mill rate increase last year.

The mill rate is the property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value, or 70% of market value. If a home is assessed at $700,000, the property taxes would be 700 multiplied by 27.3371 for a total of $19,135.97, compared to $18,781.14 for the current fiscal year.

When developing the mill rate, the Board of Finance considers the following factors:

  • Views of the voters expressed at the town hearings and in direct communication with the finance board.

  • Financial resources of the town.

  • Whether the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen can find savings in their respective budget requests.

  • The appropriateness of revenues, debt service and general fund balance amounts.

At the March 28 public hearing on the education budget, Board of Finance Chair Jeffrey Rutishauser noted that:

  • The net taxable grant list is up 0.19%.

  • Debt service is up 8.1% ($845,750), primarily due to Miller-Driscoll and Comstock Community Center construction.

  • The FY17 general fund balance is set at 11.2%.

  • The total funds required is up 2.4%.

  • Pension is funded at 96.5% of liabilities, leaving only a $3.6 million shortfall as of July 1, 2015.

  • Other non-tax revenues are $5.8 million, a slight decrease from last year.

  • Tax relief for elderly and disabled residents remains at $1.1 million.

  • Moody’s reaffirmed Wilton’s AAA bonding rating in March 2015.

To help close the $2.6 million gap, the finance board cut $400,000 from the school budget and $213,000 from the selectmen’s budget.

During its April 7 meeting, the finance board appropriated:

  • $80,572,640 for the Board of Education’s operating budget.

  • $31,015,191 for the Board of Selectmen’s operating budget.

  • $1,186,689 for the Board of Selectmen’s capital budget.

  • $11,471,130 for debt service.

  • $1,242,457 for the charter authority, including $310,614 under the jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen and $931,843 under the jurisdiction of the Board of Finance.

The finance board also voted to:

  • Set FY17 estimated revenues, excluding property tax, at $5,597,106.

  • Set the June 30, 2017 estimated general fund balance at $14,048,811.

  • Set the 2016 general fund balance at $18,160,000, leaving $4,111,189 to be used to finance the FY17 budget.

  • Set the estimated rate of tax collection due on the $4,302,070,950 net taxable grand list of Oct. 1, 2015 at 99.4%.

  • Provide tax relief for the elderly and disabled estimated at $1.1 million and WVAC Georgetown at $20,750.

  • Levy a tax of 27.3371 mills on the taxable grand list of Oct. 1, 2015, "and that the tax be payable one-half on July 1, 2016, and one-half on Jan. 1, 2017, except for bills of $100 or less and for personal property taxes on automobiles, which shall be payable in one installment on July 1, 2016."

At the May 3 Annual Town Meeting, the Board of Finance will recommend a general fund total operating budget of $125,488,107.

The $80,572,640 school budget reflects a 0.77% increase from the current budget, and the $32,201,880 selectmen’s budget reflects a 0.71% decrease from the current budget.

The town budget and capital projects will go to voters at the Annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 3, at the Clune Center. The adjourned vote will take place Saturday, May 7, from 9 to 6, at the Clune Center, 395 Danbury Road.