I went to the selectboard meeting back on Tuesday, Nov. 18, regarding the sales option tax. The question the board was discussing was whether to put an article for the removal of the option tax on the upcoming March Town Meeting Day vote. What amazes me is that back in 2008 we voted in multiple taxes for economic development and tourism. Since day one, I always argued that the golf course was part of this EDT. While at this meeting, all I kept on hearing was we need this money for general fund expenses. At the same time I hear these same people complaining that property taxes are too high. I would hope that we as a town would stick to what the tax was intended for; economic development and tourism, not our hopes for a new fire department, new irrigation system for the golf course, fixing of roads, or any general fund items. These items should be funded by our property taxes. Mr. Rosenblum made a statement that we broke the law with our vote, but I don’t think Mr. Rosenblum or others understand that from day one this revenue always went to the general fund and EDT was just a department within that general fund budget that was voted on each and every year.
Mrs. Rosenblum gave us her house as an example and also stated that she spends approximately $125 per year on this portion of the option tax. Mrs. Rosenblum understands that this $125 would no longer be paid if the alternative plan were adopted and the 1 percent sales option tax were removed. Then one must figure what $0.025 per hundred increase on the municipal side would cost them. The Rosenblum’s property on the grand list for $564,060 would see $141.02 increase. So if one subtracts the $125 that they would no longer pay, the net difference is $16.02.
What I’m amazed at is how the attitude of those at this meeting was hostile toward the resort who is only a business looking to lower their cost in order to increase their investment in their resort which benefits our whole communities economy, which in turn should (in theory) increase revenue in rooms, meals and alcohol option tax to the town.
This increased revenue would then help off-set some of the 0.025 increase and/or help pay for future town expenses, that in turn would decrease the $16 increase the Rosenblum’s would pay.
I would hope that each and every voter would take a look at exactly what they spend on the sales option tax, as the Rosenblum’s did and then compare that with their house value from the Grand List and figure what the net difference would actually be. I believe most will see no net increase to their bottom line taxes on this issue.
I’m not saying we won’t see an increase of taxes with this current administration, with their grand plans for expansion, repair, etc., but it won’t be due to the repeal of the sales option tax.
The voters of Killington should balance the liability we share to keep our infrastructure up to standards with property taxes, not the option tax that we voted in for something else.
Jim Haff, Killington
Owner of the Butternut Inn and former town selectman.