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- > Revised FY 25 Budget Vote 5.21.24

The Williston Selectboard has warned a Special Town Meeting for the fiscal year 2025 town budget revote on Tuesday, May 21st. Please note, the date has been moved back two weeks which allows more time leading up to the vote. The polls will be open from 7 AM – 7 PM at the Williston Armory on May 21st. A public information hearing will be held on Monday, May 20th at 7 PM at the Williston Central School Auditorium for an overview of the budget proposal and an opportunity to ask questions. Early voting will also be available by visiting or contacting the Town Clerk’s Office beginning Monday, April 22nd. For the budget revote the Town will be using printed paper ballots for a hand count for efficiency in having ballots available, and to save on election expenses. A complete line-by-line budget proposal with executive summary can be viewed at the bottom of this page.

The Selectboard has taken careful consideration in revising the budget from the community feedback of a failed budget at Town Meeting, and has decreased the spending plan on services and the estimated tax rate increase in this new proposal. The revised budget cuts the estimated property tax rate increase in half from the Town Meeting version of the budget. The tax rate increase in the revised budget is 2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, down from 4 cents previously. This is an increase of about $20 per $100,000 of assessed value for the tax year. For a median home ($300,000 assessment) it’s an increase of about $60 for the year or $5 per month. The overall tax rate estimate is 0.3562 cents per $100 of value (5.9% increase). This is the third lowest rate in the county. As a reminder, this is the municipal tax rate for services that is separate from the education tax rate.

The revised budget proposal reduces expenses $310,000 from the budget proposal that was not supported on Town Meeting Day (a 2 percent reduction). The expense reductions include capital funds for the replacements of police cruisers, fire utility vehicle, traffic signals, library bookmobile and mowers. The new proposed position of Human Resources Director has been removed. In addition, reductions also include staff training, equipment, part-time and on-call staff wages, expanding library hours, path paving and sidewalk replacement, building maintenance and technology. The revised budget includes adding an 18th sworn police officer position midway through the year to enable a detective position to be filled, and body cameras for all officers. These cameras are a vital tool for officer safety and accountability, and Williston is the only Department in the county without them. The revised budget proposal is $15,042,710 about a 7.6% increase when compared to fiscal year 2024. To balance the budget the Selectboard is utilizing $688,000 from the unassigned fund balance, an increase of $125,000 from the Town Meeting version of the budget. A conservative estimate at the end of fiscal year 2025 is an unassigned fund balance of $2.4 million, about 16% of the operating budget. Selectboard policy calls for the fund balance to be between 10 and 20 percent of the budget.

The Town budget provides core public services to the community. Over half of the budget funds 24/7 police, fire and rescue services for the Town with full-time staff, a level of service offered by a limited number of Vermont municipalities. The rest of the budget is rounded out with public works services, parks and recreation services, library services and administrative services including finance and assessment, vital records and planning and zoning. The driving factor in the budget increase to provide these services are wage and benefit costs for staff amid a challenging employment market, especially for public safety staff. Maintaining these services requires the staff to deliver them.

Informal drop-in style chats are planned to discuss the FY 25 revised budget proposal with Town Manager Erik Wells prior to the May 21st revote. Erik can also be reached via email at ewells@willistonvt.org or phone at 802-876-1168. In addition, the Williston Selectboard will have a table at the Town Fair on Green Up Day on the Town Green to answer questions about the budget proposal from 9 AM to 1 PM. 

Town Manager Budget Chats 

Monday, April 22nd – 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM – Library Community Room

Saturday, April 27th – 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM – Library Community Room

Monday, April 29th- 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM – Town Hall Meeting Room

Wednesday, May 1st – 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM – Library Community Room

Wednesday, May 8th – 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM – Healthy Living Market Café

Tuesday, May 14th – 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Library Community Room

 

 

 
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