Killington economy: Revitalization in progress despite ongoing challenges

Dear Editor,

There has been a lot of wonderful activity going on in our town over the past few years, showing that despite setbacks (like Irene, and a major recession), we as a town have made a lot of progress since 2008 when we voted in the options tax in an effort to revitalize our town economically. Some of the most notables among these are:

The progress of paying down of the golf debt, which at the beginning of 2011 stood at over $5 million dollars and by the end of 2015 calendar year will be less than $3 million dollars total.

An increase in Summer tourism revenue dollars by over 50 percent by the end of 2014, over 2010 (as measured by the Q3 options tax) which will be even greater in 2015 with the addition of the resort’s adventure center.

Town beautification and the development of an extensive and ambitious municipal capital plan to improve and maintain the town’s resources and infrastructure.

A separate capital plan for the golf course, which is funded entirely from golf course revenues.

Adopting and implementing a Strategic Plan for our town to keep us focused on our most important goals.

We still face many challenges; a few of these are:

The firehouse needs replacement, and we have a committee diligently working on finding a cost effective, affordable solution.

The FEMA payments will come to an end by the close of this fiscal year and we need to address the cash shortfall created by our portion of the cost of the damages Irene caused (the ~20 percent not covered by FEMA or the state). Although we have paid those costs from our general fund, we did not in previous years raise taxes, nor specifically designate a source of funding for those costs. It is the Board’s intention to apply the balance of the undesignated funds against that FEMA balance, clearing that column (dare I say it?) from our books. And we will continue to work on the cash flows issues it created.

Finding a new town manager who will help us, as a town, move forward.

Finding affordable ways to best implement our municipal capital plan, which had been stagnant for many years, without overburdening the taxpayers.

Truth is, we will always have a lot of challenges; when we solve one issue another will pop up. Some of those issues may be the unintended or unanticipated consequences of our solutions; others will be due to the march of time, safety standards or technology (like the pool, safety services and vehicles). The most important thing though is that we must always look forward and not be afraid to plan for our future. We must look for every opportunity to improve and keep our economy growing, with the least financial impact. And we must be open to new ideas, and input from all.

(This letter is based on my impressions and are not approved of, nor have been reviewed by the full board.)

Thank you for your time and considerations,

Patty McGrath, Killington Select Board Chair

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