2018 Wilton tax rate set at $28.76

WILTON – The tax rate for 2018 has been set at $28.76 per $1,000 valuation. This is a rise of $1.59, or 5.86 percent.

The biggest change is in the municipal portion of the bill, a rise of $1.05, to $7.98 from last year’s $6.93.

In a discussion and explanation of the tax rate at the Select Board meeting on Monday, Selectman Kermit Williams said it was caused in part by the inability of the town this year to reduce the rate using the town’s unexpended fund balance, plus less revenue.

In past few years, Williams said, the Select Board has chosen to use the unexpended balance, but this year they do not have it to use. The state Department of Revenue Administration requires the town to keep at least 10 percent of the budget total to cover emergencies and tax rebates. While the town will keep more than that, up to 15 percent, they did not want to go any lower.

The unexpended balance is made up of funds in the budget that were not spent plus unanticipated revenue such as insurance rebates.

Some Budget Committee members have said such a use “creates an artificial tax rate” which could encourage spending.

Local schools make up the largest part of the tax rate, at $17.37, up 47 cents from last year’s 16.90.

Other parts of the rate include County, down 6 cents to $1.20, and state education at $2.21, down 8 cents from last year.

School officials credit their small rise to “frugality and careful budgeting.” Their stated goal was to keep “as flat a budget as possible,” but some expenses are fixed.