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Proposed capital expenditures up $2M over 2012 in Wilton

  • Residents gathered on Wednesday to hear a reading of the budget and warrant articles during the town's Budget Hearing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents gathered on Wednesday to hear a reading of the budget and warrant articles during the town's Budget Hearing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Residents gathered on Wednesday to hear a reading of the budget and warrant articles during the town's Budget Hearing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

WILTON — While the Budget Committee has proposed an operating budget of $3.2 million — only $8,206 more than last year’s proposed budget — capital outlay expenses are proposed to be more than $2 million more than requested last year.

“The Budget Committee is of course concerned about the increase in capital expenditures,” Budget Committee Chair Cary Hughs told an assembled crowd at Wilton’s Budget Hearing Wednesday. “But there are some things we’ve been putting off and putting off, and we an no longer do that.”

Two of the biggest capital projects facing the town in the coming year are proposed to be funded through bonds. An addition to the town’s fire station and renovation to the existing building would require the town to bond $935,000 of the total cost, and to use a further $763,950 from capital reserve funds set aside in anticipation of the project. “This is a project we’ve been looking at for a number of years,” said Hughs. If approved, the renovations and addition should be finished by the end of next year, he said.

The Fire Department is also requesting $10,262 in a warrant article to purchase new equipment, including hose and pagers. A request for $50,000 would be added to the Fire Department capital reserve for a new vehicle.

The town is also proposing to bond $220,000 to repair broken sewer lines along Maple Street. The repayment of the bond would be on town sewer users, and not raised through taxes.

The town will also be deciding this year whether to raise funds to pay for an engineering study to repair a leak at the New Reservoir Dam.

Sewer and Water Commission Chair Jim Tuttle told the crowd that the money would fund an engineering phase of the repairs, as well as update the town’s emergency management plan to implement a course of action if the dam should fail.

Resident and Road Agent Steve Elliot asked if the New Reservoir Dam was still functional or if it was only used for conservation purposes.

Tuttle said the reservoir is still capable of being connected to the town. If the town lost both water wells, the reservoir would be the only source of water in town, and would serve as an emergency supply.

Several articles address needed improvements at the town library, including a $3,000 request for repairs to the walkway, a $2,000 request for tree removal, and a request to use $10,000 from the library capital reserve fund to repair tiles within the library.

Library Director Pat Fickett pointed out that money in the reserve fund had been built up in anticipation of needing to repair the library’s copper roofing. Hughs replied that the Budget Committee had decided to use the money in the reserve for tiling to try to lessen the impact on the tax rate, and would likely recommend bonding money for the roof repair when the time came.

A request for $120,000, half to come from taxation and half from capital reserves, will allow the Highway Department to finish paving the remainder of Isaac Frye Highway. Another request asks for $50,000 to purchase a sidewalk plow.

Two petition articles address traffic calming measures on Issac Frye Highway. One proposes creating two one-way sections no more than 10 feet wide between Badger Farm Road and Blueberry Lane; the other would reduce the same section of highway to a speed limit of five miles per hour. The Select Board did not recommend either article.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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