At last night’s (Tuesday, Feb. 21) Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting, the selectmen continued their march toward the FY2024 budget finish line — resolving their outstanding questions on budget details, outlining operating capital needs, and keeping a close eye on FY2023 revenue.

The march has been strenuous, in what First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice has presented as a particularly challenging budget climate this year. Most recently, Vanderslice even predicted that the BOS budget request might be cut by the Board of Finance (BOF).

Nonetheless, after completing their detailed review, the selectmen voted to adopt the budget request of $34,673,595 ($33,612,794 operating expenses and $1,060,801 capital budget). That represents a 2.15% increase over the FY2023 budget.

The selectmen’s discussions on the BOS budget proposal have covered a wide range of issues. GOOD Morning Wilton has reported separately on two specific issues which have garnered particular attention:

  • how Wilton’s Grand List might change in upcoming property valuations, with a potential shift in tax burden from some commercial property owners to Wilton’s homeowners
  • whether the proposed budget is sufficient to adequately address residents’ mental health needs and other social services

What About Revenue?

The selectmen are still carefully watching for developments on the revenue side of the budget.

At the Feb. 21 meeting, Vanderslice shared the latest revenue numbers along with trend information that reveals significant changes in key areas over time, notably conveyance fees and building permits.

“I wanted to talk about some of the key revenues, the ones that can really make a difference,” Vanderslice said. “At the end the year, we often have excess revenues and it’s primarily due to these key revenue items.”

“I’m watching every day… because we want to see if there’s excess revenue from [FY]2023 the BOF can use as part of their mill rate deliberations, to fund some expenses with the previous year’s excess,” Vanderslice said.

Vanderslice said she was confident the conveyance fees would come in higher than the budgeted $800,000 in revenue, despite slower real estate sales than FY2022 (which had $1,291,476 in conveyance fee revenue).

Building permits, which have already brought in $870,514 in revenue in the current fiscal year, will be above the $600,000 that had been budgeted for ’22-’23.

Revenues — past and projected Credit: Town of Wilton Zoom recording, Feb. 21, 2023

Next Steps on the BOS Budget

The BOS budget process will continue on the following schedule, which includes a public hearing. There are opportunities for public comment at designated times during all meetings. Meeting agendas, which contain the Zoom link for remote/hybrid meetings, may be found on the Town website.

  • March 6: regular BOS meeting
  • March 14: deadline for presentation of BOS budget to BOF
  • March 21: public hearing on BOS budget followed by regular BOS meeting 
  • April 3: regular BOS meeting to approve bonding referendums 
  • April 11: presentation of bonding referendums to BOF