To the Editor:

The April 14, 2020, Wilton Board of Finance meeting was void of economic realities. While the board attempted to throw around misconstrued ideas, there was clearly a lack of knowledge of economics and financing, a lack of leadership and a lack of courage.

There were little to no references to or reliance upon economists, businesses and the financial experts.

FYI:  JPMorgan now sees [the] economy contracting by 40% in second quarter, and unemployment reaching 20%.

Rather than provide leadership and guidance to the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Education in revising their budgets, the BOF was looking to rely on them to come up with their own revised budgets in a vacuum.

There was no discussion of canceling contracts via force majeure or layoffs. Rather they just timidly suggested asking unions to defer salary increases and spending.

This crisis is not the fault of any teacher, administrator, nor town employee. The reality just is!

There is no need to ask or beg unions for givebacks. There just needs to be courage to lead during these unprecedented times.

The BOF fumbling around attempting to save or find a few dollars here or there is not leadership.

And while the BOF appeared so concerned about dollars, they currently allow $10.0 million a month to flow out of our town coffers rather than cancel school and furlough town employees to save dollars for next year.

The ability to redefine essential services eluded the BOF. We are in unprecedented times and yet it was almost business as usual for BOF.

One BOF member even stated there’s no point in cutting the budget at all since those unemployed can’t pay their real estate taxes regardless. Despite everyone in Wilton being economically affected, he saw no need for any relief. Wow!

We know the economic realities. We are all living them! Things will get worse before they get better. The BOF just needs to face that reality head-on and adjust accordingly.

The economic realities call for a 20% reduction in all budgets. This can be accomplished through canceled contracts, renegotiations, layoffs furloughs, etc.

The impact these cuts will have will depend upon how the remaining resources and remaining personnel come together to deliver redefined essential services.

Some suggestions, none of which the BOF had the courage to recommend:

  • Class sizes can be increased by a handful of students to achieve a 20% savings in personnel costs.
  • Police personnel reduced by 20% would equate to just one Sergeant ([there are] currently five sergeants) and five officers being furloughed.
  • 20% reductions in fire dept personnel would equate to just one captain ([there are] currently four fire captains) and four firefighters being furloughed.
  • 20% cuts across all other departments as well with no exceptions.

And yes, services may be diminished, but yet it is the prudent and fiscally responsible thing to do in these unprecedented times.

[The] BOS and BOE are in the best positions to determine which specific cuts are to be made.

But they need real overall guidance by BOF to make these specific cuts.

Paul Bologna