WILTON — Wilton held its budget meeting on Monday, May 8, to go over preliminary details of the upcoming budget, which will be voted on at the forthcoming town meeting set for Tuesday, June 20.

Town Manager Perry Ellsworth stated at the end of the meeting that the budget was not finalized just yet and that they would need to reconvene Monday, May 15, at 6 p.m. with the intent of having the budget completed by next week.

“I’ll take on all the criticism that anybody wants to give me,” Ellsworth stated. “We’ve done the best we can with the skills that we had at the time, but we’re behind and I understand that.

“The pressure’s on.”

In the preliminary budget, the following totals are being proposed so far for 2023-2024 with the total from the previous year’s budget beside it for comparison:

•  Elected officials [Selectboard’s compensation]: $9,000 [Same]


•  Planning and code enforcement: $78,340 [Down from $82,200]

•  General government administration: $443,338 [Up from $322,099]

•  Town office building: $30,000 [Up from $23,000]

•  Revaluation/equalization capital account: $10,000 [Same]

•  Assessing services: $43,875 [Up from $39,625]

•  Contingent & legal: $20,000 [Up from $19,000]


•  Insurance: $119,000 [Up from $101,500]

•  Pension & benefits reserve: $11,000 [Down from $40,500]

•  NorthStar ambulance: $26,189 [Up from $21,407]

•  Streetlights: $29,100 [Up from $28,100]

•  Public fire protection: $206,725 [Up from $175,000]

•  Wilson Lake dam: $10,000 [Same]


•  Town infrastructure: $2,000 [Down from $3,000]

•  Animal control: $19,604 [Up from $17,837]

•  Health officer: $300 [Same]

The committee members discussed general government administration with Ellsworth, mentioning that he had proposed $85,000 for hiring a new town manager.

“I’m the lowest paid manager in the whole area,” Ellsworth stated. “To be competitive, you’re going to have to be in [the range of $83,000 to $85,000].”

“I’m not quite understanding why we need to be in a comparative rate with the town manager’s pay in with everybody else,” a committee member said to Ellsworth. “I mean, our population cannot support or does not require that pay then I don’t think that we should be increasing the pay for that position that much.”


Ellsworth explained previous town manager Rhonda Irish received $78,000 in compensation and he currently is earning $75,000. Furthermore, Wilton Select Board Chairperson David Leavitt stressed that Wilton would need to be competitive with other town offices if they are to hire a new town manager.

“I think you should have heard plenty of subtle hints from Perry about hiring the next town manager,” Leavitt stated. “Doesn’t take much to read between the lines for me.”

Ellsworth indicated that, sometime after the completion of the budget, he will renegotiate his contract and reduce his hours due to the heavy workload he has been facing.

“I’m not going to leave until you have another manager,” he stated, “but I’m not going to work five days a week after budget. I can’t. I’m getting older too as everybody is.”

Ellsworth also stated that they would also look to hire another individual to work 32 hours a week in the town office, stating “We’re stretched pretty thin up there. There’s not enough coverage at times.”

Other changes include a significant decrease in the budget for the pension & benefits reserve, with Ellsworth citing the retirement of former police chief Heidi Wilcox. The budget, according to Ellsworth, pays a portion of any accrued sick leave, vacation time and compensation time that an individual may have when they leave.


“It’s not unusual for somebody that’s been here for practically forever to wind up costing between $8,000 and $10,000,” he said.

In the previous year, $20,000 was allocated to the police pension and benefits reserve, and according to Ellsworth, Wilcox’s retirement “cleaned out the police account” and he would only propose $4,000 to begin rebuilding the reserve.

The recreation benefits reserve also saw a decrease as well with Parks and Recreations Director Frank Donald stepping down from full-time to part-time last year, leaving the department without a full-time employee.

Other minor increases included mileage reimbursement [to match the federal limit], oil and water price increases and an increase in office supplies costs.

According to Ellsworth, there is more to come next week when they reconvene on Monday, May 15. Wilton’s town meeting is set for Tuesday, June 20, with elections occurring Tuesday, June 13.

For more information about the budget or inquiries, please contact the Wilton Town Office at [207] 645-4961.

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