Wilton Board of Finance Community Update

With the start of the FY2025 budget cycle, the Board of Finance (“BOF”) will periodically send an update on the Board’s work, budget deliberations, and the mill-rate (tax-setting) process. Many residents indicated that they wanted to hear more information on these topics directly from the BOF, and our hope is that these notes will assist people in keeping up to date on the town’s budget and various mill-rate/tax matters.

Annual budget and tax-setting guide. Residents have reached out to understand how the budgets are calculated, how the mill rate works, and what all the different terms mean. We have written a brief guide, which you can find on the BOF website here.

FY2025 budget discussions. A major topic in front of the BOF is whether to provide rate of increase guidance to the Board of Selectman (“BOS”) and Board of Education (“BOE”) for their respective budget submissions. To provide a framework for this discussion, the BOF asked both the BOS and BOE for preliminary fiscal year 2025 budget projections.

  • The BOS projected a $1.4m or 3.9% increase.
  • The BOE projected a $5.3m or 5.9% increase.
  • As a general note, the BOE budget is typically 66% of the Town’s total expense budget and the BOS is typically 25% of the Town’s total expense budget. Debt service, reserve funding, and tax relief initiatives make up the remainder.

Considering these budget increase projections with estimates for the FY 2025 debt service, grand list growth (before a town-wide assessed property revaluation required as of October 1, 2023), and non-tax revenue growth, it is estimated that the FY2025 mill rate increase (i.e., tax increase) would be 5.2%, before revaluation.  See the calculation of the estimate and a discussion of the components here.

To put this increase in perspective, see the chart here for approximately how much more money taxpayers at various current tax levels would have to pay assuming different levels of mill rate (tax) increase. Note that this does not include any impact from the upcoming revaluation as of October 1.

Budget discussions for our next meeting. The BOF will make a final determination on budget guidance at our next meeting in October. The agenda and Zoom link will be available here. You can also subscribe to receive e-alert notification when a BOF agenda is posted by clicking here.  In advance of this discussion, we have asked for information on school district enrollment expectations and class sizes. We will also consult the results of previous surveys (2018, 2022, and 2023) as well as town voting history to ensure resident’s sentiments are considered as well.

As a note, budget and mill rate guidance are just that – guidance. If the BOF can reach a consensus on what guidance to provide, that guidance and the projections we base them on are not contractual and the BOE and BOS are not obligated to follow this BOF feedback.

Our goal is to engage directly with Wilton’s residents in making spending and tax decisions, so please let us know if there’s any other relevant information that you would like us to provide. Should you have any questions or comments about anything in this letter, or if you’d like anything else to be included going forward, please feel free to write directly to the BOF at boardoffinance@wiltonct.org


Submitted by Wilton, CT

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