Board of Finance January Newsletter

Update from the Chair of the Board of the Finance

FY25 Budget:
Budget season officially commenced with the release of the Superintendent’s proposed Board of Education (“BOE”) budget for FY25. You can view the presentation here:

In summary, Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith has proposed a $94.1 million school budget for FY25, representing an ~$5m (~5.6%) increase over the FY24 budget. Encapsulated within the budget presentation is a net increase of 4.5 employees, consistent class sizes with the current school year, and a forecasted decline of 26 students. This requested budget exceeds the non-binding guidance that the Board of Finance (“BOF”) issued in November 2023. The BOF is holding a joint meeting with the BOE to discuss the budget on February 8 at 7pm ET.

The Board of Selectmen (“BOS”) is expected to release their preliminary budget in the next few weeks and will have a joint meeting with the BOF to discuss it on February 15 at 7pm ET. During the February 13 Regular BOF meeting, the BOF will discuss the mill rate projection calculated based on these budgets.

We have received many questions about the revaluation notices that residents received from Vision Government Solutions, Inc (VGSI). The following are the questions received and answers:

What is VGSI? VGSI is a national consulting firm engaged by the Board of Selectmen to perform the state mandated revaluation of real estate. The firm has been engaged by the town for revaluations since 1994 and has performed recent revaluations for more than 50% of CT municipalities.

What is the 2023 Revaluation? As a general overview, revaluation is the process by which the town determines each individual property’s assessed value as of October 1, 2023 for the purpose of calculating FY2025 property taxes. Individual FY2025 property taxes will be calculated by dividing the revalued assessed value by 1000 then multiplying that amount by the FY2025 mill rate. That mill rate will be approved by the Annual Town Meeting in May.
VGSI determines the October 1, 2023 appraised value (similar to market value) for each property. The assessed value, used to calculate property taxes, is mechanically calculated at 70% of the appraised value (a percent set by state statute). You can search for your appraisal and assessment figures here.

This process is overseen by the Board of Selectmen and is mandated to occur every five years by state statute. The primary goal of a municipal revaluation is to ensure that property assessments are reflective of the current market conditions.

Does Wilton collect more money in taxes due to revaluation? No, revaluation is budget neutral, meaning that revaluation by itself does not result in the town collecting additional taxes. While each property owner’s taxes may go up or down due to shifts in the Grand List (i.e., the total assessed value of all the properties in town), revaluation does not impact the budget, or the total amount of taxes collected.

My assessment increased by 40%, will my taxes increase by 40%? Not likely. Since residential home values in town have increased since the last revaluation, the Grand List is expected to
increase (which mechanically means the mill rate before any FY2025 spending increases will decrease).
Whether or not your property taxes increase or decrease as a result of the revaluation is based on whether the change in your assessed value is higher or lower than the overall change in the October 1, 2023 grand list.
For example, if the overall Grand list increased by 30% and your property increased by 40% your taxes will increase. This increase occurs because you will have to fund a greater portion of the budget since your property now occupies a larger portion of the Grand List. Conversely, if your property increase is lower than the overall Grand list increase, your property taxes may decrease subject to the approved budget change.

The Board of Finance will present on the impact of revaluation for taxpayers when we receive the requisite information. We will also be investigating the shift between different-valued properties to ascertain how residents with differently valued homes are impacted.

BOF Budget & Mill Rate Survey:
As in previous years, the Board will send out a survey to poll residents on their perspectives regarding the proposed budgets and prospective mill rate increase. The survey is still in draft form, and we encourage residents to write to us and provide any comments. You can find a draft of the survey here. The BOF will discuss the final survey draft during the February 13 regular meeting and will plan to launch the survey in early March.

One common question we have received is whether we can include questions about tradeoffs. While it would be helpful to understand residents’ views on specific BOE spending items and initiatives, the BOF is limited in its ability to ask questions regarding the BOE’s line items because it legally cannot control or influence how the BOE allocates funds. As a result, any questions which touch on BOE line items can’t be included in the survey. Only the BOE can issue a survey which discusses specific BOE line items, and they have discussed doing so.

Additionally, some members have also asked for a telephone survey, such as the one done for the POCD in 2018. Unfortunately, telephone surveys require a longer lead time than is currently available. As many residents will recall, the 2018 telephone survey required more time than expected because of the difficulties associated with reaching residents by phone. Many residents also no longer have land lines, which limits our ability to reach them.
Lastly, some residents have asked about how board members weigh the survey in their deliberations. While each member uses their own calculus when making decisions, generally this survey is but one method that the BOF uses to understand resident sentiments on budgets and tax rates. The BOF has the difficult task of balancing the financial needs of the town / schools with the level of tax change Wilton households are willing to afford (both the ~40% of households who have children in the schools, and the ~60% of households who do not). While the survey is one method to gauge resident’s sentiments, other methods include the public hearings, public comment at our meetings, emails received and individual conversations with residents. During last year’s budget season, 797 residents responded to the survey, 40 sent emails, 32 spoke at the BOE budget public hearing, 8 spoke at the BOS Budget public hearing, and none spoke about the budget during public comment at our regularly scheduled meetings.

Community Outreach:
As discussed above, direct conversations with residents are highly important to understand people’s views. As part of that, the BOF is dedicated to increasing community engagement to hear from more residents. As BOF Chair, I am actively engaging with various local organizations (the PTA, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, etc) to gather residents' perspectives on the budget and potential tax changes. These meetings offer a platform for different groups to pose questions directly and ensure their voices are heard. If it would be beneficial for me to address your group, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly at

Additionally, the BOF has scheduled Monday, March 18 for the public hearing on the BOS budget, and Wednesday, March 20 for the public hearing on the BOE budget. We encourage all interested residents to attend and would also invite residents to speak during public comment at the Board of Finance regular meetings as well (scheduled for February 13 and March 14 at 7pm). Residents may also email us to share their perspectives.

We are grateful for the outreach we’ve already received to date and would encourage residents to continue reaching out to us.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Board of Finance at

Matt Raimondi
Board of Finance