Selectmen adopt budget with 3.2% increase

The Board of Selectmen Feb. 27 finalized its budget request for all town departments except education, voting unanimously to send to the Board of Finance a $33.23 million, a $1.03-million increase, or 3.20%, from the current year’s $32.20 million.

In light of the budget troubles in Hartford that are bleeding down to the towns, the selectmen knew that number would not stick.

“I know the Board of Finance will reduce this budget,” said First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice. “There’s no question.”

Vanderslice said departments with an ability to raise money have alternative revenue sources that other town departments do not have.

Part of the budget problem locally is that there is no Grand List growth this year, Vanderslice said. “When you have people speaking against development, this is what you have,” she said at the meeting at town hall.

Further cuts could have been made but Selectman Mike Kaelin, for example, was opposed to cutting the school resource officer or reducing funding on police shifts.

So, “we’ll present this and see what happens,” Vanderslice said. “We are going to have to deal with it when it happens. Everybody is going to have to think about it.”

Vanderslice has said there have already been two jobs cuts in her office this season.

It’s not budget season as usual for Wilton or any other Fairfield County town as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy attempts to shift burdens to the towns to meet an estimated $1.4-billion deficit in FY 2018 alone.

For Wilton, Malloy’s proposals would mean a more-than-$1-million reduction in educational aid plus a $4-million expense to cover the state teacher pension plan, Vanderslice has said. If both are adopted by the Legislature — which appears to be taking up grievous dissent to the plan — they could mean an approximate 5% increase in Wilton’s annual budget, Vanderslice said.