On June 26, 2015

Is the KPAA tail wagging the Killington Town dog?

Dear Editor,

In response to Vince Chiarella’s letter to the editor “KPAA Questions Answered” in last week’s, June 18-24, 2015 paper, his letter has no new information that is not included in the KPAA’s  presentation to the Killington Select Board or The Mountain Times article “Town officials support contracting with new association for marketing and events,” which appeared in the June 11 edition. As for the KPAA’s not just being a reformed Killington Chamber, all one has to do is look at their website right in the main menu bar where it says “Chamber Info” to see that it in fact is. And furthermore they should not be using the Killington Town logo, as it looks as if they are a town government entity, which they are not.

I have more questions regarding the operations and funding of the KPAA.

Why is a town with a budget of a just under $5 million subsidizing a regional entity to the tune of $300k plus ($250,000 marketing and events budget and soon to be KPAA’s director Amy Morrison’s salary and benefits)? You would think the KPAA supporters touted in the KPAA proposal (which include the Killington Resort with estimated annual revenues of $60 million, Green Mountain Power with estimated annual revenues of 3/4 of a billion dollars, and Rutland Regional Medical Center with estimated annual revenues of 1/4 of a billion dollars) would be able to support this organization without batting an eye, nevermind the rest of the KPAA members. If you calculate what just these three entities would supposedly pay at KPAA’s membership dues rate of 1.7 percent of sales the number is $1.8 million.

KPAA members receive discounted passes for their employees in return for membership dues. What does the town of Killington get for its $300k? Looks to me like we just get more bills to pay, like having to refurbish the front of the KPAA/Park and Ride parking lot. You would think the KPAA or the Resort would at least offer the townspeople some sort of break on the ski passes since we’re going to fork over $300k plus.

An added note, the Select Board has chosen the “subcontractor” route to subsidizing the KPAA so as to bypass citizen approval during the budget process. Their logic is that they’re just subcontracting the town’s voter-approved marketing and events budget to the KPAA. If they are truly representing all the townspeople and not just a narrow set of interests (not even townspeople necessarily), why bypass the citizenry’s review and approval of this proposal during the election? The answer seems pretty obvious – they’re worried it wouldn’t pass.

Another thing, not long ago I asked why the visitor’s center was not open on weekends and the response I got was there was no one coming in then. Yet in the proposal it’s touted with the town paying the director’s salary and handing over the town’s marketing and events budget that it will be able to stay open seven days a week.

The KPAA contract will be addressed at the next regular meeting on July 7, Webb has noted.

And I still maintain the KPAA needs to change its logo so it does not look like they’re running the town. Although given current events I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t actually the case. Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

Vito Rasenas, Killington

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