Budget time is here again. Given the fact that that Wilton property taxes have increased at a rate of 2x the Cost Of Living (COLA) in the last 11 years, it is imperative that we all stand up and say enough is enough. The chart below shows some key measures of growth for Wilton. You can see that educational expenses have grown over 2.9x COLA, and continues to grow in spite of the fact that school enrollments are declining.
This year, the Board of Finance (BoF) gave the Board of Education a guidance number of a reduction of -1.25%. I encourage all of you to contact the BoF showing your support for the reduction. We expect a significant reduction in State aid and will have increased costs due to the Miller-Driscoll bonding. We cannot afford any increase in our mil rate. The email for the BoF is firstname.lastname@example.org .
To view the data supporting the above statements, go to: Key measures growth
The Miller-Driscoll project is an excellent example of what can happen when Town officials do not perform due diligence and use unsubstantiated claims to promote a capital project or budget.
The most egregious factor in this example is the use of deceptive projected Pre-K enrollment numbers, resulting in:
- False information presented to the BOE, BOS, MDBC and public.
- False information used to promote a $50M capital project.
- False information used to design the MD renovation.
- False information used in the town’s bond prospectus.
It has become obvious, even to town officials, that the enrollment estimates given were wildly inflated. Wilton is currently constructing a school that will have classrooms that will be empty, excess offices for staff that will not be needed and excess costs in the design due to these unrealistic enrollment estimates. In the last few weeks the First Selectman has expressed her concern based on more realistic enrollment projections and the BOE has admitted that Pre-K Special Education has dropped way below what has been provided in various budgets.
To see the full report: PreK Enrollment Deception
The world has changed, Wilton must also
Wilton is currently on a fiscal path that is having a significant negative impact on its citizens. Wilton has become uncompetitive with neighboring towns due to high taxes, which has depressed housing prices, caused businesses to leave, and discouraged new families from choosing. Wilton.Supporting documentation for these facts (as of Oct 2015) can be found at: WiltonQuick facts Final
- Wilton median home prices have not recovered from highs. Neighboring towns have done much better (Source: Zillow). Compared to 2006/2007 peak.
- Darien 100%
- Westport 95%
- Wilton 83%
- Fairfield County losing wealthier potential buyers
- UBS significant downsizing in Stamford
- RBS significant downsizing in Stamford
- GE considering leaving Fairfield
- Significant losses for many current sellers will affect comparables
- Spending per person currently 4th highest in State
- Growth in spending from 1996 to 2012, 3rd highest in State
- Wilton Debt per Capita $3289 in 2013 18th highest in State. After MD and Comstock Debt per Capita will approximately double and move Wilton to #1.
- Cost escalated from $5M in 2006 to currently $50.2M
- Enrollments have dropped by double digits and are projected by the state to drop by triple digits during the next 5 – 10 years
- MD renovation design does not incorporate the significant declining enrollment. This disregard of enrollment projections from multiple private and state experts has led to a plan to demolish existing usable facilities and build new unneeded new classrooms.
- Project as configured will result in empty classrooms for years to come. CT expects to lose population and 150 school districts are expected to have significantly lower enrollments. In 2025 Wilton Public Schools’ enrollment is projected to be 37% lower than in 2015.
SensibleWilton (SW) has raised these concerns but has been rebuffed by the Board of Selectmen, , Miller Driscoll Building Committee and Board of Finance. Nevertheless, our message has been heard by Wilton voters and every candidate for Wilton offices this election has acknowledged that high taxes and their consequences are key issues. SW will continue to be vigilant and work to ensure these issues are acted upon post election.