Selectmen trim town budget request to less than 1%

Following nearly a month of cost cutting, First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice introduced a final town budget Feb. 27 that comes in at 0.883%.

The Board of Selectmen approved the budget request of $33.5 million, which is $293,123 more than the current year’s $33.2 million, for fiscal 2019.

It was a sharp contrast from the preliminary budget requested on Feb. 3, which was $33.8 million, up 2.025%, or $672,486 more than in the current year.

That is the town side of the budget. It does not reflect the Board of Education expenses.

Vanderslice said savings came from areas including combining the Department of Public Works with the Department of Facilities and Energy, by taking overtime out of the Parks and Recreation budget, by realizing a savings in the medical costs when many people moved to a higher deductible, and by a $22,000 reduction in the Trackside Teen Center budget.

The Trackside directors had initially asked for $120,000, but dropped to $98,000, she said.

The next step is to present the scaled-back request to the Board of Finance  at town hall.

“I thank all of the department heads for their hard work,” Vanderslice said after the selectmen accepted the budget, with only a minor revision for the library funding.

The state is in difficult financial straits and there will likely be hard times in the state and in Wilton going forward, Vanderslice said.

The new budget request figure reflects $32.3 million in operating expenses and $1.2 million in operating capital.