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Wilton Raises Mill Rate by Nearly 1%

WILTON, Conn. – With the mill rate now set with an increase of 0.995 percent over the 2012 rate, Wilton still has to face the budget cuts mandated by the Board of Finance .

The new 21.057 mill rate was approved in a 4-2 vote Wednesday night. But there won’t be a dollar value attached to it until the Wilton Board of Appeals completes its hearings on property assessments.

During a meeting Tuesday night, the finance board told the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen that they needed to cut their budgets to fall in line with a 1.75 percent increase that was requested at the start of the budget season.

This means cuts of about $195,000 in the selectmen's budget and $180,000 in the education budget.

A concern discussed at Tuesday’s meeting was that the selectmen had artificially cut their budget by removing the $650,000 line item for road maintenance. The board has proposed a five-year bonded capital project that would fix 50 miles of roadways.

Board of Finance member Al Alper said the removal of the line item “artificially deflates the percentage increase you’re asking for.”

It essentially removes money from the budget only to borrow it to pay for the service instead. Board of Finance vice chairman Lynne Vanderslice said comparing the 2012 and 2013 budget was like comparing apples and oranges.

“We weren’t doing anything that we thought was wrong, we just were trying to use our best judgment on how to manage our resources to come in with the objective of maintaining the infrastructure of our town,” First Selectman Bill Brennan said of the line removal.

Ultimately, the selectmen have to cut an additional $195,000, but they get to keep the bonded roads project.

During the final mill rate meeting Wednesday, the Board of Finance unanimously voted to approve much of the 2013 budget, except for the Board of Education and the selectman’s operating budgets, which passed with votes of 4-1.

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