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Letter: Vote at Wilton's Annual Town Meeting

WILTON, Conn. - The following is a letter from Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan about the Town Meeting on May 1.

The Town of Wilton’s Annual Town Meeting will be held at the High School’s Clune Center 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 a.m. to 6 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 Board of Selectmen, the Board of Education and the Board of Finance and requires a mill rate increase 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 Board of Finance, 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 1st 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 Wilton Road Restoration Project will accomplish this objective.

The proposed fiber optic network 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 Yankee Gas of a natural gas line, $1.3 million in trenching costs can be avoided.

This project is strongly supported by the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, the Library, Wilton Police and Fire Departments, 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 deferred renovations at Comstock Community Center, Ambler Farm and several school buildings.

In summary, town departments and the Board of Selectmen spent many 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 1 after the annual Town Meeting or on Saturday, May 5. Thank you for your support and for voting on these important community matters.

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