Local News
February 14, 2018

Killington Select Board candidates outline platforms

By Polly Lynn Mikula

KILLINGTON— Three candidates will face off for the open seat on Killington’s three-person Select Board. Jay Hickory, Kelly Lange and Jim Haff are all running to replace Chris Bianchi, who is not seeking re-election. Chuck Claffey, had originally submitted a petition for the seat as well but has since dropped out, casting his support for Haff. Whoever wins the seat on Town Meeting Day, March 6, will join Steve Finneron and Patty McGrath on the Board.

Q&A with candidates for Killington Select Board

 

Jay Hickory

JayHickory - Select Board

Mountain Times: Why are you running for the Select Board?

Jay Hickory:
I have always been a proponent of serving your community.  I think this is a great opportunity to do that and believe strongly that we need an influx of new ideas and maybe even a little common sense when tackling town issues. I have unanswered questions about the current budget and some concerns with town leadership.

MT:
What is your experience and/or familiarity with Killington town governance? 

JH:
I have lived in Killington for over 30 years and served on the Killington Zoning Board of Adjustment for six years. I do understand all the components and what is expected of a Select Board member; including night meetings, BCA, and an occasional day meeting, trainings, and the public’s ability to contact me at any time with their issues and concerns. To have a strong governing board, we need to make sure that everyone has a voice and is heard.

MT:
What is one of the main things that is NOT working well, in your opinion, under the current leadership? How would you change it?

JH: 
I have unanswered questions about the current budget and some concerns with town leadership. I also have concerns with Green Mountain National Golf Course and feel that the golf pro and manager should be two different people. I feel that there are a number of things that can be done differently to make it run more efficiently.

MT:
What is something that is currently working well in your opinion and how would you bolster that?

JH: 
Town management begins at the top. I have great respect for the support employees of the town and think that it is imperative that they be involved in the hiring process for leadership and other positions. We have a great team of employees who love this town and want to see us be the best we can be.

MT:
What do you want voters to know about you that they might not already? 

JH: I was born and grew up in Bridgewater, Vt., and have lived in Killington with my wife and raised three children in the town for over 30 years. I work as a plant manager at Vermod, a company that builds high efficiency, net zero modular homes. I owned my own business for several years, and have worked for several people in Killington. I have been fortunate enough to donate my time and expertise to help the Rotary Club renovate a town resident’s home after his skiing accident so he was able to return home. Along with other small jobs for other townspeople, it has been an honor to be part of this community and to be able to help others when needed.

 

Kelly Lange

Kelly Lange - Select Board

Mountain Times: Why are you running for the Select Board? 

Kelly Lange: I am committed to Killington’s future as a successful resort town with a strong community base. For this to happen, we need: (1) responsible town financial oversight; (2) to provide resources for all community members and (3) strategic planning for maintenance of town infrastructure and assets.  With my background of developing solutions to complex health issues for Vermont, serving as vice president of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, and a deep commitment to this community, I am well prepared for the Select Board.

MT:
What is your experience/familiarity with Killington town governance?

KL: As a resident of Killington, I follow our Select Board, school board and other town activity through local news, conversations with community members, and board minutes. Within our community, the ability to engage and educate yourself on the issues is important and can occur within formal and informal settings. I take advantage of all information sources.

MT:  What is one of the main things that is NOT working well, in your opinion, under the current leadership? How would you change it?

KL: I am really proud that our community has joined together to focus on being a successful four-season resort town.  With this commitment, we need strategic planning to ensure we leverage our assets, while maintaining sufficient capital and reserve funds to support maintenance and investment in our infrastructure and services.  We are at the moment where we must reevaluate our town finances and debt obligations, managing our funds and assessing revenue in the most efficient and productive manner.  

MT:
What is something that is currently working well in your opinion and how would you bolster that?

KL: Our town is successfully becoming a true resort town.  The increase in tourism dollars is enabling broader year round employment. This progress clearly demonstrates what can occur when the community works together with a common goal. While the resort offerings have expanded so have the town assets, such as mountain biking. Such development of our assets not only aids tourism but more importantly encourages workers to stay in town and become residents.

MT:
What do you want voters to know about you that they might not already? 

KL: Many people know I enjoy the outdoors and coaching in the children’s Future Stars program for the Killington Ski Club.  What may not be clear is my background experiences and education that will serve as important tools should I become a Select Board member.  I’m a former teacher and dean of students, an attorney and now director of health care reform at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont with experience in regulatory and employment matters, budget development, grant writing and management.  My proudest role is being vice president of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports Board. Serving this community organization has been extremely fulfilling. It has provided me the opportunity to strengthen my leadership skills and gain experience in budgeting and strategic planning, while helping my community.

 

Jim Haff

Jim Haff - Select Board

Mountain Times: Why are you running for the Select Board? 

Jim Haff:
 I’m running for the Select Board to provide the voters in the Town of Killington with the correct information to make educated decisions on various town issues. I believe the town needs to understand its current financial position in order to know how to best move forward in whatever direction the voters choose. I’ve been quoted as saying the town has two separate financial books. I want to clarify that statement by saying that I only repeated what the Town Auditor Ron Smith stated at last year’s informational meeting. When Ron was asked what he meant he went on to explain that the town powers have left out chapters of the financial reports. So I am running to bring all outstanding chapters into our financial reporting to the voters so that when we vote we know where we stand. 

MT: What is your experience/familiarity with Killington town governance?

JM: Where do I start? I’ve sat on the Killington Select Board , I’ve been involved with Killington pre-K and Killington Elementary School, I’ve sat on the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, and I’ve filled in as town health officer. Currently, I am one of two Killington representatives for the middle school/high school board and I’m the chair of the finance committee for that board. Additionally, I sit on the buildings and grounds sub-committee of the middle school/high school and I also sit on the new Act 46 MUUD (Modified Unified Union District) board and have been appointed to the Act 46 MUUD finance committee.

As for familiarity, I’ve been active with Killington governance since 2006.  I believe that town government has one set of obligations to its voters and tax payers for:  public safety, roads/highways, schools, parks and recreation (which include programs for ages 0-infinity, and also the golf course), and the town library.  I believe if our town takes care of these issues, it’s done its job.  I understand how property appraisals affect Town revenues and the budgets, and I’m familiar with Act 60/68 and Act 46, all of which significantly impact your taxes.  Along with that, I believe that if businesses want to succeed, then businesses should invest in themselves.  Voters and businesses have come around to this idea — as exemplified in the repealed the 1 percent sales tax, which passed last year.

MT:  What is one of the main things that is NOT working well, in your opinion, under the current leadership? How would you change it?

JM: Again, the town needs accurate and fair reporting from Town Hall (i.e. all chapters must be included in the Town report).

MT: What is something that is currently working well in your opinion and how would you bolster that?

JM: It’s hard to say when not all the chapters have been included in the finances that we are making decisions on.  But such chapters are finally starting to appear, such as: the FEMA debt does really exist, and lack of funding for the infrastructure of the golf course. I’d bolster our town by including all the chapters and taking care of the above issues. 

MT: What do you want voters to know about you that they might not  already? 

JM: I really am a nice guy!  I have an issue when numbers state one thing and others try to argue against those objective truths.

Vote at Town Meeting, March 6

Town Meeting voting, March 6, will be by Australian ballot. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. at the Killington Town Office, 2706 River Road.
Absentee Ballots are available after Feb. 9.

The informational meeting will be held March 5 at the Killington Elementary School gym. The School District meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. and the informational meeting at 7 p.m. with a pasta dinner fundraiser served in between.

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