Killington Select Board explains budget and articles up for vote, March 3

Editors note: The following is a public letter by the Killington Select Board addressed to Killington residents reproduced here in full.

Fiscal Year Change

On Town Meeting Day in 2014, Killington voters overwhelming approved Article 3 and adopted a July 1 through June 30 fiscal year in place of using the calendar year (Jan.-Dec.).  We proposed making this change so that (1) voters can vote on a budget that begins after the actual vote, (2) the auditors have time to audit the previous year budget before voters consider a new one, (3) we can schedule tax collection to avoid unnecessary borrowing, and (4) the town’s fiscal year matches the school and the state.

As a result of this positive change, we have prepared an 18-month budget, from January 2015 to June 2016, for voters to consider.  The one-time 18-month budget will facilitate this important fiscal year transition.

When you are considering this year’s budget proposal, the easiest way to compare the 2014 budget to the 2015-16 (18 month budget) is to compare the 2014 budget x 1.5 vs. the 18 month budget.  We debated how to compare the two at length and felt this was the most accurate, transparent way to present this year’s annual report.

Tax Collection and Billing (Article 2)

It’s important to note that the proposed payment schedule (Article 2) would divide tax payments into four installments (instead of two).  If this Article passes, taxes would be divided into smaller payments due in August, November, February and May.  The effect on residents would be: you would  (1) have more time to pay your entire annual bill, and (2) keep your money longer instead of having the Town hold onto it.

2015-16 Budget (Article 3)

Creating the Town’s first 18-month budget was a challenge we’ve been working on it for over six months.  This budget contains two winters and one summer and due to seasonal and other bill cycles, we had to balance a lot of things to make it work.  In the end we came up with a budget that we believe is fiscally responsible, responsive to voters ‘concerns, and sets us on a strong financial course for the future.

In 2014, we improved our financial status by raising more money than we spent, growing our capital reserves and paying off long term debt.  In 2015-16, we are seeking to continue that progress. Our proposal makes sure we fund important road work and maintenance, support our public safety services at levels proportional to Town needs, pay off our debts in a timely manner, and make investments that will lead to a brighter future.  The 2015-16 budget has 3 percent increase in revenues and 2 percent increase in expenses.  The 2015-16 budget would result in an estimated municipal tax rate increase of 1.28 cents.

In addition to regular operating cost, the board decided to restore the part time Rec. Director to a full time position.  Similarly, we decided to increase one of our part time police officers to full time.  Other operating increases are: board of health expense, liability insurance, solid waste disposal, Teen Center demolition, winter road maintenance (salt alone is $20,000 more), line striping, emergency generator and fire truck maintenance, increased fire rescue services, resort walkway extension planning, and cost of living increases.

Efficiency Vermont Financing and Rural Fire Protection (Articles 4 and 5)

Article 4 asks voters to authorize the Town to use interest free financing and a $12,000 grant to improve the lights on the walkway on the Killington Road.  We have posted a fact sheet on killingtontown.com with more information.

Article 5 asks voters to approve a $100 contribution to a non-profit that supports enhancing fire suppression systems in Vermont Communities. 

Select Board Wages (Article 6)

Prior to 2010, each Select Board member received a stipend of $2,000 a year.  In 2010 the Select Board reduced the stipend to $1,000 and then eliminated it all together in 2011.  In 2013, voters increased the stipend to $1,000.  This article asks voters if they would like to restore the stipend to the 2009 level of $2,000.

Want to help the Town become a better place to live, work and retire?  We are inviting interested citizens to apply for the appointed positions on a variety of boards and commissions including planning, economic development, recreation and more. The list of openings are on www.killingtontown.com. Volunteers do receive stipends.

Informational meeting, March 2

We will hold a public information meeting to provide updates and answer questions on all the Town Meeting Day ballot items on Monday, March 2nd at 7 p.m. at the Elementary School.  Sincerely,

Patty McGrath , J. Christopher Bianchi, Kenneth Lee

Killington Select Board

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