Managing taxes is a balancing act between cutting spending and growing revenues, but neither is easy. \u201cI think it\u2019s very difficult,\u201d Chief Economist of Webster Bank Dr. Nicholas Perna told The Bulletin. \u201cIt\u2019s not easy to get grand list growth. How do you get the commercial growth? What do you have to do?\u201d Perna said \u201csignificant growth usually requires some kind of sizable development,\u201d but many towns have trouble attracting larger projects, and Wilton, according to one official, is especially stringent with what it allows in terms of commercial zoning. \u201cTraditionally, the focus in Wilton has been maintaining high quality of life, and that\u2019s been achieved through very conservative zoning laws,\u201d Town Planner Bob Nerney told The Bulletin. \u201cEighty-five percent of the town is zoned for two-acre, single-family development. There are retail areas, but they by and large tend to parallel Route 7,\u201d Nerney said. Nerney thinks significant grand list growth for Wilton will likely come at the price of at least some portion of the town\u2019s signature character. \u201cSometimes you reach an intersection where policy decisions have to be made,\u201d Nerney said. \u201cI think that\u2019s probably where we are.\u201d Dave Lisowski, Wilton\u2019s tax assessor, agrees it\u2019s not easy to attract significant commercial development, but he looks at revenue growth not as a way of driving down taxes, but as a necessary method of maintaining them at acceptable rates. \u201cIf the grand list doesn\u2019t grow approximately the same amount that the budget increases each year, personal property taxes are going to go up each year, so you have to have growth,\u201d Lisowski said. \u201cThat\u2019s what the towns look to do \u2014 provide the services and keep the lid on taxes,\u201d Lisowski said. \u201cYou have to.\u201d In other words, reducing spending is only part of the puzzle. Officials should never neglect to massage their commercial tax base. Nerney said his department is currently confronting some of the impediments to strong commercial growth. \u201cWe\u2019re starting to look at things like our Design Enterprise District regulations, which are really the bread and butter when it comes to economic development initiatives,\u201d Nerney said. \u201cThat discussion\u2019s going to play out in the coming weeks.\u201d \u201cWe\u2019re also looking at the issue of age-restricted housing,\u201d he added, \u201cwhich many communities have, but Wilton does not.\u201d Perna made the observation that \u201cone of the things that subtracts from the grand list is non-taxed properties,\u201d which Wilton has its share of, though he added that \u201cit\u2019s usually not an issue in reasonably well-to-do towns.\u201d Wilton\u2019s 2015 $4.3-billion grand list grew slightly over 2014, increasing by 0.18%. Commercial property, assessed at $601,819,670, was up 0.10%. There are 183 commercial buildings assessed at $247,317,940, four apartment buildings assessed at $20,658,120, and 28 commercial condominiums assessed at $71,626,870. Land and commercial improvements make up the rest of the commercial base. With ASML building a parking garage and construction of Phase Two of Wilton Commons underway this year, these projects will contribute to some growth in 2016. That said, towns in this area usually \u201cneed another couple of shopping centers\u201d to add significantly to their commercial bases, Perna said. Gaining public approval of those types of projects is not easily done. \u201cSomewhere near Wilton Center there must be 10 or 50 acres that could be zoned commercial, and suppose I want to put a big box store or a Costco. How would you feel about that?\u201d Perna said. The Crossways plaza off Route 7 has been up for sale since 2012. It\u2019z zoned Wilton Center and could potentially allow for a supermarket or other complex, if the whole property were to be purchased and leveled.