Mill rate set to 28.1875

During its second mill rate meeting on April 4, the Board of Finance settled on a 28.1875 mill rate for fiscal year 2019 (FY19), representing an approximate 1.51% increase over the current 27.768504 rate.

There was a 1.58% mill rate increase last year, and a 1.89% increase before that.

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 28.1875 for a total of $19,731.25, compared to $19,437.95 for the current fiscal year.

At its April 3 mill rate meeting, the Board of Finance appropriated $32,319,728 for the Board of Selectmen’s operating budget, $1,182,271 for the selectmen’s capital budget, and $81,876,563 for the Board of Education — $500,000 less than the $82,376,563 requested by the school board.

School budget

During the finance board’s lengthy April 3 discussion on the school budget, Peter Balderston proposed reducing the Board of Education’s 2.24% budget increase request down to 1% to reflect the budget guidance issued by the Board of Finance back in October.

Balderston said he felt 1% was appropriate, “given the [school district’s budget] history and decreases in enrollment.”

Richard Creeth expressed concern with Balderston’s proposal, stating that “a cut of that magnitude” was “something that should not be done overnight” by the Board of Finance.

“I think that needs to come from the Board of Ed with encouragement and assistance from us. I just can’t support anything like that,” said Creeth, who proposed a $500,000 cut to the Board of Education’s request.

The board adjourned its April 3 with a $650,000 Board of Education cut, but ultimately decided on a $500,000 reduction at its April 4 mill rate meeting.

The appropriated school budget reflects a 1.62% year-over-year increase and the selectmen’s budget reflects an approximate 0.88% increase.

Other resolutions

In addition to levying a tax of 28.1875 mills on the net taxable grand list of Oct. 1, 2017, and appropriating the budgets, the finance board also voted to:

  • Set the estimated rate of tax collections due on the Oct. 1, 2017 net taxable grand list of $4,339,653,974 at 99.3%.

  • Set estimated FY19 revenues, excluding current property taxes, at $4,260,279.

  • Appropriate $10,921,766 for debt service.

  • Appropriate $1,263,003 for charter authority, including $315,751 under the jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen and $947,252 under the jurisdiction of the Board of Finance.

  • Set the June 30, 2019 estimated general fund balance at $12,756,333, which is 10% of the FY19 total operating funds required.

  • Set the June 30, 2018 estimated general fund balance at $15,762,589, leaving $3,006,256 to be used to finance the FY19 budget.

  • Provide $1,150,000 in tax relief for elderly and disabled residents.

  • Provide $20,750 in tax relief for the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Georgetown Fire District.

At this year’s Annual Town Meeting, the Board of Finance will recommend a general fund total operating budget of $127,563,331.

The town budget and capital projects will go to voters at the Annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 1, at the Clune Center. The adjourned vote will take place Saturday, May 5, from 9 to 6, at the Clune Center, 395 Danbury Road.