Wilton water budget approved; department looking at rate hike

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WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons approved a proposed 2015 budget of $516,228 for the water department Tuesday.

During the coming year, the department intends to apply for a rate change, Clayton Putnam, water/wastewater superintendent told the board. The amount has not been determined yet.

The rate hike would take effect in January 2016, he said.

In this budget, the department has included $20,000 for purchase of a used truck to replace the 2003 four-wheel drive, half-ton truck purchased in 2005, he said.

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The budget also includes $21,600 for the third year of a five-year plan to convert water meters to ones read by radio, he said.

While expenses are good, revenues have dipped from previous years, he said.

In 2011, revenues were $519,000 and dropped each year to $465,000 in 2013. He estimates about $476,000 in revenues for 2014, he said.

Wilton supplies water to North Jay Water Department, and they are a major source of revenue for the town, he said. But they have tightened up their system.

About $20,000 of the 2013 drop can be attributed to the work they’ve done on the system, he said.

Water conservation and vacant homes that require no water have also played a role in the revenue drop. Wilton’s increase in sewer rates may have more customers acting conservatively since sewer rates are based on water consumption, he said.

Although Putnam estimates cash reserves to be $400,000 at the end of 2015, the cash reserves need to be maintained to meet both unexpected and expected expenses.

While a homeowner may have to spend $500 unexpectedly for a new refrigerator, one water break can cost the department thousands, he said.

A needed computer upgrade done last year was $60,000, he added.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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