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Wilton Selectmen Seek Ways to Increase Revenue

WILTON, Conn. – The Wilton Board of Selectmen asked land use departments – such as the Planning and Zoning Department – to find ways to increase their revenue after a budget presentation Tuesday night.

Overall, the four budgets presented — Planning and Zoning Department, Health Department, Environmental Affairs Department and Building Department — added up to a total decrease of $6,098 in spending requests.

Although the selectmen were pleased with this decrease in the budgets, they were concerned that the revenue estimates for the 2012-13 budget year weren’t representing increases from past years.

“I think that we’re asking that you look at the revenue projections and noodle them around a little bit to see if we’re not being overly conservative here,” First Selectman Bill Brennan said.

Bob Nerney, director of Planning and Land Use Management, said the estimates were probably low. “I think myself and the other department heads tend to be very conservative.”

Since Hurricane Irene and the Halloween snowstorm, there has been an influx in generator permits. Although they represent the largest number of requests, the town has seen a rise in other permits as well. For the 2011-12 fiscal year, Planning and Zoning projected $6,885 in permit revenue, but Nerney said it has already reached about $4,100.

However, while “the permit activity has increased, the value associated with that isn’t as great as what we’ve seen in the past,” Nerney said. “I think the increase in permit activity is a good sign.”

Selectman Richard Dubow asked whether raising the permit fees was an option. Nerney agreed that it was something the departments would have to investigate. “I think we need to do that in a reasonably fast order,” Brennan said.

Most significantly, the Building Department has projected only $407,000 revenue in 2012-13, even though just less than $326,000 has come in so far this fiscal year.

“We need all the revenue because the alternative is maybe laying people off. And I don’t want to lay people off because we’re being 'too conservative' with our revenue estimates,” Selectman Hal Clark said.

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