Brennan: Support Wilton's Budget Next Tuesday

Wilton's First Selectman asks voters to support the FY 2013 budget, which would increase Wilton's mill rate by .986 percent.

The Town of Wilton’s Annual Town Meeting will be held at the on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 P.M. Please plan to attend this important meeting, during which the town’s fiscal year budget for 2013 will be presented. Voting will follow the meeting and an adjourned vote will be held on Saturday, May 5, from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. at the Clune Center.

Once again, we are pleased to present a very cost efficient budget that has the unanimous support of the , the Board of Education and the Board of Finance and requires a of less than 1% (0.986%) for FY’13.

After months of budget development activity by the Boards of Selectmen and Education, followed by discussions with the , final budget proposals were agreed upon as follows:

                                          FY’ 13 Budget              Variance to FY’ 12
        Board of Selectmen   $30,347,323                            + 1.75%
        Board of Education    $74,051,216                            + 1.75%

Critical objectives were to maintain the high quality of our educational system, as well as public safety and other essential services to the community. This budget will accomplish these goals.

At the May 1 meeting, six bonded capital projects will also be presented for approval by the town. It should be noted that the Board of Selectmen has a leadership and visionary responsibility to meet the future needs of Wilton for all our citizens, which we believe are as follows:

  • Reliable public safety and emergency capabilities
  • Improved communication systems
  • Maintenance of valued Town buildings and facilities
  • Preservation of major assets, especially our 127 miles of town roads, and
  • Improvement of the physical conditions of our schools

To meet these needs, the Board of Selectmen unanimously feels it is prudent to make needed investments again in Wilton. We cannot indefinitely defer maintenance and equipment purchases. Our roads have deteriorated and it is now timely to restore them, particularly with current interest rates at historic lows. The proposed will accomplish this objective.

The will substantially improve our communication system’s capabilities, enable us to optimize our financial systems and pursue many cost savings and other benefits. By seizing an opportunity to install conduits during trenching operations for the Wolfpit Road sewer extension and the installation by, $1.3 million in trenching costs can be avoided. This project is strongly supported by the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, the , and s who have closely cooperated for the past 12 months to develop an advanced fiber optic system that will also allow the town to provide uninterrupted emergency communication services under all conditions 24/7/365, thereby improving public safety.

Other vital capital projects will be presented at the Annual Meeting, which are also critical to maintain public safety and the town’s infrastructure. These projects include the replacement of an 18 year-old Fire Engine Tanker, and making at , and several school buildings.

In summary, town departments and the Board of Selectmen spent may months developing and analyzing these projects, which reflect our long term vision and needs of the community. In addition, the Town’s Financial Advisor and Bond Counsel recommended that all of these projects be bonded to take advantage of very low interest rates.

On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I urge your approval of the FY’13 budget, along with the six proposed capital bonding projects. Please vote on May 1st after the annual Town Meeting or on Saturday, May 5th. Thank you for your support and for voting on these important community matters.

-William Brennan, First Selectmen of Wilton 

Amo Probus April 25, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Geoffrey Day April 25, 2012 at 05:51 PM
By how much have the mil rate and grand list increased since 2000?
Eustace Tilley April 25, 2012 at 06:18 PM
GD Budget in 2000 was $54,250,912 (inflation adjusted for 2013 would be $68,356,149) BOS operating was 15,062,820 BOE operating was 33,697,186 rest was capital & charter authority Compare it to what Mr Brennan stated above: FY’ 13 Budget Board of Selectmen $30,347,323 Board of Education $74,051,216 meanwhile household income up 22% inflation 26%
KPC April 25, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Just curious... do you have a source for the 40 homes currently in foreclosure?
Eustace Tilley April 25, 2012 at 08:25 PM
KPC "In Wilton, Town Clerk Bettye Ragognetti reported five foreclosures for 2009. As of Aug. 30, there were 10 foreclosures In 2009 there were 5" I do not have info for 2008 or 2011 There are currently 13 "in process" on one web site(http://www.realtytrac.com/mapsearch/ct/wilton-foreclosures.html) The Town Clerk would have specific info for each year
AS April 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I hope every poster here shows up to VOTE on the budget. Talk, vitriol and critisizing others is cheap and solves nothing. However you feel about the budget and Wilton's taxes, let your VOTE speak for you. Exercise your right as a homeowner and be part of the process
KPC April 26, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Oh, apologies for my confusion. They way it was written I was under the impression that 40 homes are currently in foreclosure. Not that 40 homes have been foreclosed on in recent years.
Andy Pforzheimer April 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Amo Probus - Cost by line item is published every year, available at all of the hearings, and is online. Whining is your god-given right, but please do your research before you imply bad faith.
Amo Probus April 26, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Andy Pforzheimer Show me the link that displays the actuals by line item compared to the old and new budget. Show me the link that shows the estimated current year expenditures to the proposed budget. Make sure it shows both the BOS and the BOE expenditures/budget BY LINE ITEM. YOU did not have the info when you set the budget goals and you don't have it now. You can call it either bad faith or an inability/unwillingness to use appropriate metrics....
Eustace Tilley April 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Voters in doubt as to where government spending is headed should view this <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc&feature=youtu.be
Concerned Wilton resident April 26, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Mr. Brennan’s letter fails to mention two significant facts related to the proposed fiber optic network bond project: - The Board of Finance does not support the project. (They did, however, endorse the other bond projects.) The BOF started asking for substantiating financial info in Feb., was rebuffed at every request and never given the answers to their questions. This is egregious behavior on the part of both the fiber project committee and the BOS. - There is NOT a signed agreement yet with Yankee Gas for the gas pipeline project that the fiber project is supposed to piggyback on. There are legal and easement issues that have not been resolved and it could take many months, and a lot of money, to do so. (BTW, where will those costs be assigned?)
Concerned Wilton resident April 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM
There is a LONG list of other shortcomings of the fiber optic network project that include: - The cost as presented isn’t legitimate. Per #s presented Monday night, the actual cost of the project is >$2.58M (NOT $1.6M) - Knowledgeable residents have pointed out that an appropriately designed project could be done for A FRACTION of the proposed cost. - Knowledgeable residents have pointed out that the bandwith design of the project is overkill for the actual needs of the town. How did this even get on the ballot? But because it is we must VOTE NO.
Eustace Tilley April 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Andy, I thought you previously said you do not have a report comparing projected 12 month actuals to the new budget by line item...is it newly released?
Eustace Tilley April 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I am having second thoughts on borrowing money to do repaving instead of the more traditional method of paying for it out of the operating budget...Mr. Meinhold stated, since its a recurring year after year process, we should be paying for it as we go. He might be right since I fear we are using the bonding/borrowing process as a 'gateway drug' to ever increasing expenditures/purchases...kicking the can down the road so to speak. It is worsened by the decision to add the $650,000 for salaries and benefits expenses instead of infrastructure improvements.
Andy Pforzheimer April 26, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Ed - We have been through this a thousand times. Nobody predicts end-of-year "actuals." These budgets are prepared in January, and the budget year starts in July, so it is only 50% done at the time of the budget request - there is no reason to spend limited man-hours trying to guess what the year-end will look like. We get monthly YTD updates, but it isn't like a business, where fluctuating sales mean fluctuating costs to apply against fixed costs; they are almost all fixed except for road salt and overtime. For FY 2013's budget we were given FY 2009, FY2010, and FY2011's Actuals, along with FY2012's adjusted budget. It isn't brain surgery to look at the past few years' Actuals and extrapolate 1) what 2012's Actual is likely to look like, and 2) how much deviation, on average, Actual has from Budget. We do these calculations and apply our own zero-based budgeting.
Andy Pforzheimer April 26, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Example: FY2009 Actual for expense line X = $20,000. FY2010 Actual = $19,000. FY2011 Actual = $21,000. FY2012 Budget = $23,000, FY 2013 request = $25,000, for an "increase" of $2,000. We will look at this line item and ask why the increase is actually $4,000, since the Actual amount seems to track $20,000, not $25,000. Sometimes there's a good reason. Sometimes it's "cushion." The extent to which we see cushion is one of the movers behind the eventual cuts that we will propose. We have years and years of Actuals. Continuing to insist that not having "projected" Actuals, for a year that we are still in the middle of, constitutes some sort of skulduggery, makes these comments - yours and others' -- seem less like genuine exploration of the process and more like cranky venting.
EMR April 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I think Amo has a very valid point. Where can we access budget information on the Town of Wilton website? Ease of access is very important for Wilton voters who are busy at work.
Eustace Tilley April 26, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Andy Did we spend some $200k for a new accounting system last summer? I know I am a pain on this but I feel I have been given the run around for the last 5 years and will continue to press for full disclosure. You, as a BOF member may have line by line actuals but we don't. We did not have it for either the BOS or the BOE presentations a few months ago either so we are in the dark. This is especially important now that the $650,000 was pulled from paving expense and put somewhere else without 'public' knowledge. Is there a link to line item actuals for the BOS and BOE as AP requested? Thanks
Andy Pforzheimer April 26, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Ed, EMR - I will make it a point to see that the line-item budget, along with available Actuals (2009, 2010, and 2011) get posted. Won't be today, but I will get it done. Feel free to hold me to it.
EMR April 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Andy, hope we can visit this information on the Wilton Town site before voting day
Wilton Resident April 26, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I wonder how much the town is saving now that they have dissociated themselves from the Ambulance Corps. Perhaps not much if they are still paying the Mon-Fri daytime crew out of the town's budget (contrary to public belief, not ALL of the VOLUNTEER Corps' EMTs are volunteers; only nights & weekends).
MarkC April 26, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Andy, of course people can "predict year end actuals". Your own Board requested it from the BOE and the BOS. The BOE provided it prior to you setting the mill rate and the BOS did not. The BOF has done a great job in providing information. The only area where you have fallen short is in supplying comparisons to prior year actuals. Your Board did not provide them at the recent public hearings despite statements that you would. Thank for offer to ensure that they will now be provided.
Eustace Tilley April 26, 2012 at 08:11 PM
ZERO BASED BUDGETING as defined by Wiki or as I used it in my corporate life is not what we do in Wilton...Wilton does 'incremental' budgeting thing. ZBB requires the complete review of how and why we spend by line item (i.e. is there a better way, is it really needed etc.) The Wiki definition is: "Zero-based budgeting is an approach to planning and decision-making which reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only variances versus past years, based on the assumption that the "baseline" is automatically approved. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved, rather than only changes.[1] During the review process, no reference is made to the previous level of expenditure. Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base. This process is independent on whether the total budget or specific line items are increasing or decreasing."
thm April 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Until our town can justify every line item based on zero based budgeting, we need to hold them accountable by voting NO NO NO!
Andy Pforzheimer April 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Ed, as much as I would love to dance on the head of a pin with you, I have a business to run. Need to keep this brief. The *entire* FY2013 Budget, including 201 and 2011 Actuals, FY2012 year-to-date, AND ESTIMATES for FY2012, was put on the front page of the Town Website when the budget was first presented in January. It has been there for three months. So, Marc C, we did in fact provide it all -- but I have to admit that I wasn't aware that they were there. Not only did Sandy put the entire, line-by-line, 700-page budget online for everyone, she also made copies for people who don't have computer access, and put them in the Library and in the Town Clerk's office. Link is here: http://wiltonct.org/documents/FY%2013%20Dept%20Budget%20Requests%20-%20Jan%203%202012.pdf
Eustace Tilley April 27, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Ha. so there it is. Sandy may be the only one who knew. Don't feel badly, at least 2 other BOF members did not know either, and no one else at the Town Meetings knew (or acknowledged it)
Connecticut15 April 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I'd love to see the numbers regarding how Darien and New Canaan compare to Wilton's commercial real estate base. Remember we have Route 7 and Wilton Center, I would think that New Canaan's would be smaller than ours. Darien has Route 1, but it may be the equivalent of Route 7 commercial development. We have many private roads that the town doesn't have responsibilities for in paving, maintenance, and snow removal. We do not have a public golf course or public waterfront. We also may have more 2 acre zoning.
Kathy Rosenbaum April 30, 2012 at 10:15 AM
This is Kathy's husband (Steven Rosenbaum) leaving a comment: While I admire the spirited debate among those posting comments, I fail to understand why people don't do so under their real names. I would imagine that if an individual has strong convictions, then signing his or her name should be no problem. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening at the Clune Center!
Don't want to lose my job April 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Because there are many vindictive people in town who would try to make life miserable for you if they do not like what you have to say (remember the PTA fiasco). Or perhaps some of these people work for the town and are in fear of their jobs if they tell the truth about what goes on in town.
Say no to the scam May 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Vote No on the budget, and road paving - why? The BOS removed 650,000 for road paving from the annual budget and then rather than reducing the budget they spent that 650,000 on other items. And to make up for the road paving removal they are asking us to bond it. Another person tried to explain what they did but I am not sure if it is clearly spelled out so let me offer an analogy to clarify the issue. Mom and Dad have an annual household budget. The monthly electric bill is part of the annual budget. Mom and Dad want to go to Paris, but the kids do not want Mom and Dad to spend more than the annual budget because they are worried about the family's financial future. But Mom and Dad did not get any raises from their jobs this year, so how can they pay for Paris without spending more than the annual budget and getting the kids mad at them? The answer is simple! Mom and Dad remove the monthly electric bill from the annual budget. They declare that it is no longer part of their annual budget. The money they save can be used to pay for Paris, and they will not spend more than their annual budget. They say to the kids, aren't you proud of us! We did not exceed our annual budget! Oh by the way, this year we will have to take out a loan from the bank for necessary electrical services. The kids being none the wiser say, great job Mom and Dad for staying within the budget! And it's okay to take out the loan because electrical services is something that we need.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something