WILTON – On Thursday evening, Assessor Paul Binette advised the Wilton select board to keep the tax rate the same for the upcoming year. The board ultimately voted unanimously in favor of this movement.
The select board has not increased the tax rate for the past six years; this will be the seventh.
Binette explained that last year the tax rate was $19.40 per thousand. The three options he laid out before the board were to keep the rate the same, lower it by a dime to $19.30, or raise it to $19.50. These options were based on his collaboration with Town Manager Perry Edwards in looking at past overlays and expenses.
“The overlay is the amount of money that we’re collecting above and beyond to cover all of our bills,” Binette explained to the board. This money is where any tax abatements would come from. Historically, Wilton’s tax abatements have been approximately a few thousand a year, never exceeding $5,000.
Binette also noted that the town’s valuation base is roughly $10 million higher than it was last year. This increase is from new houses built, home improvements, and a substantial amount from Central Maine Power when the substation was replaced. To counteract this increase, some bills are also higher. The two end up offsetting each other, which gives the board the option to maintain the tax rate at $19.40 per thousand.
There are some unknowns, partially due to the upcoming election which could affect what the town receives for revenue sharing and education subsidies. Because of this, the board might have chosen to have a higher overlay and a higher tax rate, but Binette advised against this.
Selectperson Maiuri suggested that the board vote to take the middle road, maintaining the tax rate at $19.40 per thousand. “We need to live within our budget and last year we were fairly confident that, you know, by reducing it slightly that we would be able to fit within our budget. But these are uncertain times,” Maiuri said. “We have lots of unknowns ahead of us.”
The rest of the board agreed and voted unanimously to maintain a tax rate of $19.40 per thousand for the 2022 to 2023 year.