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Selectboard unanimously passes 2013 municipal budget

Funds town priorities without raising taxes for third consecutive year

On Tuesday, Jan. 22 the Selectboard passed the Town of Killington's budget for the 2013 fiscal year. With a slight reduction in General Fund expenses, the budget calls for total spending and revenues of $5,093,080, which includes general fund and final flood recovery costs as well as one-time allocations of undesignated, unspent funds.

"Despite rising costs and lower property tax revenues, this budget proposal level funds the operating expenses and addresses the Town's priorities without increasing taxes," said Chris Bianchi, board chairman. "We have held many additional budget meetings during the last few months to ensure we have a proposal that accomplishes the goals of the board. The unanimous vote is reflective of a willingness to compromise and work together."

In 2012, expenses from Tropical Storm Irene forced the Town to start the year with an operating deficit. Coupled with the largest golf course debt payment to date and rising cost of doing business, there was unprecedented pressure on the municipal budget.
Responding to these challenges, the town reorganized its priorities, making cuts, aggressively pursuing federal and state funds, and tapping unspent, undesignated 1% revenues.

Effective planning and hard work in 2012 paid off. The Town covered all its costs without raising taxes or incurring additional debt, and is set to begin 2013 with an operating surplus.

Despite the increase cost of doing business, the budget calls for no increase in the General Fund.  Highlights of the 2013 budget proposal include:
-       Investing in energy efficiency projects that will reduce long-term operating costs;
-       Fully funding important public safety departments to help them deal with increased operating and capital costs;
-       Replenishing the Highway capital funds tapped for Irene recovery to ensure the roads are well maintained in years to come;
-       Improving the appearance of the commercial district with short-term investments in landscaping and longer term funding for capital projects and planning;
-       Supporting events like the Stage Race, Spartan Race, Cooler in the Mountains Concert Series and others for less overall cost;
-       Increasing allocations for E-Books at the Sherburne Library;
-       Maintaining an active and growing Recreation Program and expanding our trail network;
-       Reducing the size of government; doing the same or more work with fewer full-time staff;
-       Helping employees keep pace with the rising cost of living;
-       Fully addressing all of the Town's debt obligations;
-       Setting aside an additional $217,500 of undesignated funds into a restricted fund to further reduce the Golf debt liability and address the $1.1 million balloon payment in 2022
-       Purchasing a Generator to power the school in case of emergency or disasters;

Killington's budget supports the principals of the Strategic Operating Plan that the Board adopted earlier this spring. The budget can be found online at www.killingtontown.com. The Selectboard will hold an informational meeting about the budget and all Town Meeting Ballot initiatives on Monday, March 4. Voters will be asked to approve the budget on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 5.