I believe that the Killington Resort plan to repeal the 1 percent options tax is a perfect way to galvanize this community. When one takes a moment to look at the effect this could have on our community as a whole, the benefits are overwhelmingly positive. From the residents, to the businesses, to the hardworking people of this town, everyone stands to gain from this repeal.
I am co-owner of Sushi Yoshi on the Access Road. We have been in business for over 20 years and currently employ about 35 of the best and hardest working people you’ll find anywhere. For these 35 people, we are unable to provide year-round employment for any of them. The lack of summer activity in town makes it financially impossible for us to conduct business during that period. Every year, I lose valuable employees who migrate to Nantucket or another area with a more viable summer economy. Many area businesses suffer the same fate. Some businesses are able to survive year-round, but several are closed for a significant amount of time. This results in loss of staff and financial hardship for everyone involved.
Last August, we opened another location in Stowe, Vermont. In that location, we currently have 45 employees. We are currently able to employ all of them year round. Three of our employees were able to acquire mortgages and purchase their first homes this summer. One of our employees is expecting her first child in February. I am extremely thankful every time I think of the people we are able to support with that business. If it weren’t for the vibrant summer economy in Stowe, we would suffer in the same way we do in Killington and so would our incredible staff.
Over the past 15 years I’ve said to my staff many times: “If Killington can just show some signs of life in the summer, we will stay open and I’ll have jobs for all of you.”
Well…… here is our sign. I currently have at least seven employees who are interested in settling in Killington to start their families and purchase their first homes. If the Resort can bring an increase of summer business to town, this could be possible for them. This would also allow many business to stay open longer and be more successful all year long. That could lead to many of the businesses paying more taxes to the town and increasing the fund for essential improvements such as a new Killington Fire House and road work.
I understand that there are pros and cons to any plan, and I appreciate the variety of opinions on this subject. I believe the diversity and intellect in this community is what makes it so special. We need to make it possible for everyone who dreams of living, working and playing in the beautiful town of Killington able to afford to do so. This repeal plan should reach the ballot in March and be voted on democratically so everyone involved can have a voice in the future of this town.
Nate Freund, Sushi Yoshi