On March 1, 2017

Vote for proven economic drivers

Dear Editor,

I am writing today to voice my support for two issues facing voters this March. 1) Allocating monies from the economic development fund for the 2017 Killington World Cup, and 2) repealing the sales portion of the local option tax for the following fiscal year.

Both concepts make sense for our town and businesses.

The 2016 Killington World Cup event cost Killington Resort well over $1 million to produce—monies that they did not and will not recoup. My local business, the Killington Mountain School, spent in excess of $10,000 in association with the event, and logged thousands of worker-hours, adding up to substantially greater costs.

In my opinion, this was money well spent. The Killington World Cup was a culmination of many entities working together to produce one of the best World Cup events in the history of the sport. Many of my colleagues in the ski racing community commented that they have been to the biggest shows in winter sports in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, etc., and that our World Cup event was the BEST they have ever witnessed. This event cemented our place in the winter sports pantheon and guarantees that guests and potential students will think of Killington first when considering where to vacation and enroll their children.

This success was no accident. Our mountain resort, town government, local businesses, the KPAA, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, the Vermont Alpine Racing Association, the International Federation of Skiing, and many, many others all came together and were part of something historic and impactful for our town and brand.

Town business reports show that the town taxable receipt numbers for the month of November 2016, were approximately $3.4 million over the previous tax year, and $2 million more than the largest year in recent history. To allocate $100,000 back to the resort to ensure that this annual event continues is a no-brainer—it must happen. KMS, a local non-profit business, will continue to allocate precious resources to ensure that it continues; the town must do the same.

The second issue, repeal of the sales portion of the local option tax, also makes sense. Killington has invested heavily in summer and winter events and infrastructure. We know that the resort is committed to this investment, as we have witnessed its ongoing push to make Killington a true four-season vacation destination. Our off-season business traffic has increased over the past two summers. Killington’s investment is evident and is paying off for our town and the community in which we live. We are best served leaving these resources in the hands of a business that has proven that they will make good decisions for our growth, recreation, economy and town.

Sincerely,  Tao Smith, Killington

Tao Smith is the head of school at Killington Mountain School

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