Rutland’s PEG-TV recently announced the retirement of their long time executive director. The three-station juggernaut has been a success that hopefully will continue. They last reported revenues of $750,000 and $1.4 million in assets with a well-paid and benefitted staff. But that success came in part at great cost to the town of Killington.
Many years ago the town had escrowed over $200,000 of PEG fees from Adelphia. When a group of local residents attempted to set up a station they were rebuffed. Then selectmen, town manager (a Rutlander) and a recently retired Rutland director had other ideas. They decided it best to give all PEG fees, past and future, collected in Killington to the Rutland station–but only after doubling it from 2 ½ to 5 percent.
This was pre-Australian ballot and the voters withheld their support from the startup on the floor at Killington town meeting. We appealed to the Vermont Public Service Board but tax collector Adelphia’s (by then bankrupt) decision was upheld.
Rutland Regional Community Television used the windfall to build new facilities and set up, briefly, a Killington satellite station, which soon folded not because of overfunding. I think Rutland’s station was better located at Stafford Tech where high schoolers were more involved; at least some of them benefitted–Killington students who attend Woodstock never did. Overall it’s been great for Rutland while 5 percent of the Comcast bill gets us minimal Killington Public Educational and Government programming.
Kip Dalury, Killington