Wilton selectboard, finance committee, finalize budget recommendations

first_imgWILTON – Selectboard and Finance Committee members met Wednesday evening to decide on a final budget to recommend to voters next month. As of now the town meeting is scheduled for June 15 and will be held at Academy Hill School.All members strived to make as few increases as possible in light of the difficulties faced by the COVID-19 crisis. Department heads were asked to keep their requests to a minimum, focusing on necessary increases only. The final recommended budget was $3,399,284 from the selectboard and $3,455,205 from the finance committee. Those numbers showed an increase of $68,528 and $124,449, respectively, over the previous fiscal year’s budget.The Fire Department put in a total request of $191,538, roughly $10,000 more than the previous fiscal year. That figure was supported by the finance committee, and dropped $5,680 by members of the selectboard. Selectboard member Tiffany Maiuri made that motion, reducing the Equipment line item from $21,500 to $16,120 and the Supplies and Materials line item from $1,500 to $1,200. The recommendation of $185,858 was supported unanimously by board members.The Wilton Free Public Library requested $122,250 for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. The only increase request came with Payroll Expenses, which saw a $12,900 increase, all other line items were left even with the previous fiscal year.Several finance committee members said that could not support such a high spike in wage increases.As pointed out by Finance Committee member, and WFPL Board Member, Gwen Doak, that number is large in part due to a lack of employee compensation offered to staff members. Staff members, some of whom have been employed for more than a decade according to Director Jen Scott, receive no health benefits and are currently paid $1.50 more than minimum wage.“It affects our ability to attract and retain employees,” Doak said. “Salaries and wages are more heavily weighted when there are no other benefits being offered.”Aside from a $25,000 annual endowment payment, the library fundraises their remaining income. This year the library fundraised $18,000 toward their overall expenses, much of which was used for a new boiler for the building.The finance committee could not come to a conclusion for a recommendation. Selectboard members were also not in support of the wage increase, and moved to drop that number to $106,488. That figure represents a two percent increase, or $2,088 from the previous year. A total budget for the library of $111,438 was recommended by the selectboard.“I’m only in favor of a two percent raise, which is what we’ve suggested for all of our departments,” Selectboard member Tom Saviello said.last_img read more