Selectmen propose $32-million budget

The Board of Selectmen has proposed a $32,414,880 budget for fiscal year 2017.
The proposed budget, which reflects $31,018,191 in operating expenses and $1,396,689 in operating capital, was approved by the Board of Selectmen in a budget work session on March 2.
The total value — $32,414,880 — is $17,315 less than the Board of Selectmen’s fiscal year 2016 budget. This marks a 0.05% decrease fiscal year over year.
Recently, the Board of Finance asked the Board of Selectmen to develop and submit an operating budget that reflected 0% growth from fiscal year 2016.
“[Board of Finance Chairman Jeff Rutishauser] was very pleased that we had not only met their target, but our budget was actually $17,000 less than what we asked for last year,” First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said at the March 7 regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
However, Vanderslice added that when she and Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly- Lenz met with Rutishauser, the Board of Finance informed her of a $2.5-million shortfall.
“They have a $2.5-million shortfall, that they, as the Board of Finance, expect they’re going to be dealing with,” she said.
“If you look at what was paid last year in taxes, and any changes in revenue, and you compare that to the expenses in the budgets that are being requested this [fiscal] year, that’s what they’re looking at in considering what they have to surplus.”
“Anything that we do to beat this year’s budget, whether it’s on the revenue side, or if we come in under expense, that helps to fill that gap that they have, so we’re going to keep monitoring that,” Vanderslice said.
The Board of Finance reviewed the Board of Selectmen’s budget on March 16, and the budget will next be discussed at a public hearing in the Middlebrook School auditorium on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. The community is invited to the public hearing, to make comments or ask questions about the proposed budget.

Bonding questions

The two bonding authorizations the Board of Selectmen submitted are $1.8 million for the five-year road restoration program, now at the end of its fourth year, and $650,000 to replace the crumb rubber football field at Wilton High School with organic turf.
Added together, that’s $2.45 million in bonded capital.
If the Board of Finance, at its capital meeting with the Board of Selectmen on April 7, endorses the bonding of these projects, each authorization will be voted on by citizens at the Annual Town Meeting in May.