Wilmington ended the fiscal year with a $590,000 surplus after what town manager Scott Murphy described as a “fiscally conscious and conservative year.” The town ended up with a surplus of $320,000, and netted another $370,000 in two tax sales, including the sale of 55 tax lots on Haystack, which had been on the town’s grand list for years.
While an exact definition was not created by the selectboard, the purpose of the fund is to establish a cash reserve for unanticipated expenses and emergencies that may arise over the course of the year. While the town is proposing it be funded with $100,000 of the surplus, the other $590,000 is proposed for putting toward the general fund in order to lower taxes.
This year, the proposed tax rate would be down just over 4 cents, following the application of the $590,000 to the general fund. Murphy said this accounts for a reduction of almost 10% in the amount that needs to be raised for the general fund through property taxes.
There are multiple articles that aim to raise funds for the town’s numerous capital funds. Article six proposes $150,000 for the town road equipment fund, which, if approved, will help the town in its effort to secure a $130,000 grant for resurfacing the town’s roads.
Article seven is to see if voters approve $150,000 for the fire department equipment reserve fund, and article eight asks for $25,000 for the Memorial Hall capital fund. This number is up from last year’s figure of $10,000, due to the purchase and impending installation of an HVAC unit. The town is also looking to continue reimbursing the library capital fund for the cost of a new roof, to the tune of $12,000 this year.
The town is also looking for approval on a tax stabilization policy, which would allow business owners to pay taxes on their new property or expansion, through a gradual process increasing by 20% each year for five years until it reaches 100%. Murphy said this was a policy he wouldn’t expect to be used often, but it provides another incentive for prospective as well as current business owners to do business in Wilmington.
Unlike last year, when elections saw two seats on the selectboard closely contested, the two open positions on the selectboard saw only one petition for each turned in by deadline. With selectboard chair Meg Streeter opting not to run for reelection to her three-year post, Susie Haughwout will run for her seat, while former school board member Tom Manton turned in the only petition to run for the two-year seat being vacated by Haughwout. The two school board positions up for election received only one petition each as well, as Adam Grinold and Kathy Larsen are running for reelection unopposed.
The proposed general fund for the town this year is $1,243,847, while the town road budget is $1,303,675.