Wilton Board of Finance cancels Feb. 25 workshop, discusses allegations, receives status report

During its Feb. 18 meeting, the Board of Finance announced that its Feb. 25 budget workshop with the Board of Education will be canceled.

Board of Finance Chairman Warren Serenbetz said instead of meeting with the education board, the Board of Finance will send its questions about the budget to the Board of Education.

Misappropriation of funds

The board went into executive session to discuss a possible misappropriation of funds regarding a bond that was approved to extend air conditioning at Miller-Driscoll school. The project took place over the course of 2002-2004.

In an email to The Bulletin on Wednesday, Board Chairman Warren Serenbetz said the board will hire a forensic audit firm to look at certain Wilton public school transactions during fiscal year 2012 to determine if any misappropriation of funds occurred.

Financial report

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Dennies presented the town’s financial status report.

Although the January report didn’t reflect as much activity as she had expected, Ms. Dennies said revenues have been coming in strong and the town’s expenditures are right where they should be.

“The taxes are coming in at exactly the right place with the collection of taxes through January,” she said.

Ms. Dennies said the Wilton tax office has been very diligent in sending people reminders to pay their taxes.

“We collect 1.5% interest on each month, from the first of the month when taxes are due,” said Ms. Dennies.

“If you miss January then you will owe two months of interest to pay in February.”

Ms. Dennies said motor vehicle supplemental tax and back tax collections have been better than originally budgeted.

“With regard to the town revenues we’re pretty good where we ended up at 46.52%,” said Ms. Dennies.

“It shows that we’re reasonably where we should be.”

Ms. Dennies said the town clerk had some “very interesting collections” that have helped the town, including:

• A $19.2 million transferal property that brought in around $48,000 of revenue;

• Some very large residential sales that brought in high conveyance taxes;

• A property that terminated its open space use before the 10-year period, resulting in the payment of an $84,000 penalty.

“Those things don’t happen all the time; we don’t budget for them happening all the time,” said Ms. Dennies, “but they really helped us this year.”

Ms. Dennies said expenditures have shown very little movement.

“Overall, at this point of the year, we’re at 59.71% of our expenditures, so we’re right where we should be,” she said.

Ms. Dennies said there were only two capital projects that moved forward in January:

• The continuation of the year-long hardware and software replacement cycle;

• The police department did encumber funds for replacement police cars.

“Overall, at this point of the year, we’re 59.71% of our expenditures, so we’re right where we should be,” said Ms. Dennies.