Credit: file photo / GOOD Morning Wilton

This is GOOD Morning Wilton‘s ongoing coverage throughout the day, where readers can find out information about today’s vote and results when the polls close.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. — Preliminary figures show a voter turnout of approximately 20.6%. All results reported in today’s coverage are based on information provided by Wilton voting officials at the Clune Center voting location. GMW will report when the registrars release their official numbers.

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.Board of Education Chair Ruth DeLuca told GOOD Morning Wilton, “The board is grateful that the community continues to strongly support the schools.”

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m. Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation President J.R. Sherman provided a statement to GMW about the vote results.

“I have unwavering respect for the democratic process, and I’m so incredibly thankful for all the work Lynne Vanderslice, our WARF board and the countless volunteers put in to provide better opportunities for our athletic children. This outcome is unfortunate for thousands of our kids, but turnout in these local votes is critical. We took the high road and based our efforts on diligence, facts what we believe is in the best interest of Wilton families. Unfortunately thousands of parents didn’t make it out to vote. We remain committed to the betterment of Wilton and its athletic and recreation facilities and will regroup, and look forward to future endeavors.”

UPDATE: 6:42 p.m. Superintendent Kevin Smith told GOOD Morning Wilton he’s pleased with the budget passage. “I’m grateful that the community supported the school budget. We remain committed to ensuring our students receive a world-class education.” He also commented about the vote on the artificial turf field: “I’m very disappointed the field didn’t pass.”

UPDATE: 6:20 p.m. — The budget has passed, the field referendum has been defeated.

The budget passed YES — 1,590; No too HIGH — 557; No, too LOW — 356. (Combined NOs — 913)

The Artificial Turf Field (Question #3): YES — 1,249; NO — 1,298, a difference of 49 votes.

Other Questions:

  • Scribner Hill Repair: YES — 2,008; NO — 459
  • Fire Truck: YES — 2,183; NO — 333
  • School Roof Repair: YES — 2,276; NO — 237
  • Elevator Replacement: YES — 2,150; NO — 358

UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. — Unofficially, without absentee ballots counted yet, the budget has passed by majority vote: YES — 1,452; No, too HIGH — 530; No, too LOW — 341. Unofficially, that’s 1,452 YES to 871 NO (combined).

With 189 Absentee ballots currently being counted, there is no chance that will change, and voter turnout is above 15%, so the budget has passed.

UPDATE: 6 p.m. — Polls are closed.

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m. — Election moderators report that there has been a steady stream of voters all day, including at one point a line to check in at one table that stretched an hour back. Observers at the Clune Center said lots of families with small children came in throughout the day.

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m. — According to the Registrar of Voter Karen Birck, as of 2 p.m., 1,516 people have voted in person at the Clune Center. For in-person voting only, that’s 12.29% votes cast.

By GMW‘s count, including what the registrars have reported for absentee ballots received at town hall, the unofficial total voter turnout (in person plus absentee) is closer to 13.7%

As Birck predicted, “If it keeps up at this pace we’ll definitely make it to 15%.”

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. — As of 1:30 p.m., the ballot reader showed 1,384 ballots had been counted by the machine. One voter observed, after feeding their ballot into the machine, there was “a line and a steady stream of voters behind me.”

UPDATE: 1 p.m. — At the half-way point in today’s voting, we have heard reports of very brisk voter turnout in the first five hours. One voter described both the parking lot around the Clune Center and the voting area inside as “packed.”

UPDATE: 12 p.m. — As of 12 p.m., the ballot reader showed 1,020 ballots had been counted by the machine.

UPDATE: 11 a.m. — As of 11 a.m., the ballot reader showed 741 ballots had been counted by the machine.

UPDATE: 8 a.m. — Polls have opened for today’s annual town budget vote. Voting turnout may be higher than usual, if the number of absentee ballots the town has already received is any indication.

According to the registrars of voters, they have accepted 177 absentee ballots as of the end of the day on Friday, May 5. In 2022, there were 22 people who voted by absentee ballot.

In the voting that took place on Tuesday, May 2, following the Annual Town Meeting, 148 votes were cast.

WILTON, Saturday, May 6, 2023, 7:15 a.m. — At last Tuesday’s (May 2) Annual Town Meeting, attendees took the first step in the budget setting process: they approved the Fiscal Year 2024 town budget as proposed by officials as the one voters will consider.

Today, Saturday, May 6, is the second step: Wilton residents and property owners will head to the voting booth to say whether or not they accept that budget, and if they approve of five bonding proposals. Once the budget is adopted, that’s how the town determines how much to tax each property owner in order to fund the budget.

In-person adjourned voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wilton High School Clune Center Auditorium (395 Danbury Rd.).

The proposed FY2024 operating budget of $134,951,947 to run the town and schools is a 3.06% increase over last year’s budget. That means a mill rate increase of 3.66%.

Breaking that down, the town budget from the Board of Selectmen is $34,473,595 or a 1.56% increase; the school budget from the Board of Education is $90,581,692, or a 2.89% increase. (The remaining portion is for debt service and town reserves.)

Voters have three options to consider on the budget vote:

  • YES, I approve the proposed budget
  • NO, the budget is TOO HIGH
  • NO, the budget is TOO LOW

As always, the town needs to reach a 15% voter turnout threshold in order for the votes to qualify. Otherwise, with less than a 15% voter turnout, the budget automatically passes, no matter what votes are cast. As of 9 p.m. on Friday, May 5, Registrar of Voters Karen Birck reported there are 12,327 eligible voters.

There are also five bonding questions on the ballot for voters to consider:

  • $127,000 for design work for the construction/reconstruction of Scribner Hill Rd.
  • Up to $1,935,000 for an artificial turf field at Allen’s Meadow
  • $950,000 for the replacement of a fire truck
  • $780,000 for school roof replacements
  • $275,000 for the design and installation of a new elevator at the Cider Mill School

GOOD Morning Wilton has covered every step of the budget-setting process. Our coverage, including more in-depth explanations about the bonding issues and discussions officials have had about the budget, can be found online.

One reply on “[UPDATE] GMW’s Ongoing Coverage: Preliminary Annual Town Vote — Budget Passes, Field Referendum is Defeated”

  1. It’s worth noting that this is actually a historically strong showing for “no, too low;” one wonders what might have happened if voters could select that option and have it actually count + not risk inadvertently sending the budget to the BoF to be cut further.

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