News Briefs

Killington Select Board focuses on finances

KILLINGTON— On Tuesday, Aug. 16, at their regular Killington Select Board meeting, the board discussed the towns financial status with regards to FEMA reimbursements, outstanding debts, loan repayment plan and delinquent tax collection. Here is a summary of the discussion, according to the meeting minutes:
FEMA: Ravine Road appeal status
Town Manager Debby Schwartz reported that on June 4, the town submitted an appeal back to the state on FEMA’s Ravine Road determination. On Aug. 2, the state submitted their response to the town’s appeal to FEMA. In their submission, the state commented that the appeal was “…a productive exercise and a project well worth appealing.” The town’s appeal includes a request to be reimbursed on the entire cost of the bridge. There are also almost $37,000 in errors and omissions which have been identified for additional reimbursement.
Schwartz stated that if the town were to receive all of the additional monies requested for this project, it would be almost another $232,000. She added that the town hasn’t received any determination from FEMA on the Stage Road project which is almost $309,100, noting that the outstanding requested reimbursements total is slightly over $540,000.
Outstanding debt review
Chairwoman Patty McGrath stated that several years ago, the town had budgeted almost $600,000 in revenues to be received from FEMA reimbursement due to Tropical Storm Irene, which took three full-year cycles to receive. She noted that the outstanding money is actually on top of that; that the town has not put that into the budget as revenue and therefore, that the town is not depending on that as part of their budget cycle at this point. McGrath added that the town is hopeful that it can get the money to help whittle down the cash shortfall.
McGrath also stated that she, Schwartz, Treasurer Lucrecia Wonsor and Assistant Treasurer Mona Hickory  had a meeting with Peoples Bank to review the town’s finances. One of the questions that came up was finally settling out anything that the town owes on Irene. McGrath stated that the numbers for her calculation came from the town’s reports from 2011-2014 and then the final 2015–2016.
According to McGrath, the total expenses incurred due to Irene were approximately $3.2 million, and that FEMA’s reimbursements to date were $2,428,000 which leaves the town with a shortfall of approximately $776,000.
McGrath said she has also been tracking the town’s net cash value since 2011, adding that in 2013, the town realized that there was a $996,000 cash shortfall between what the town had in the bank and what the town owed, and that according to the numbers, the town actually has been whittling down that shortfall down.
$900K loan due Sept. 1
Schwartz reported that the town’s $900,000 operating note is due Sept. 1. The town has received in over $477,000 in one day’s receipts for the first installment of tax payments, she reported, so she reached out to the bank to ask if there’s any prepayment penalty. She said she will work with Lucretia to see if the town can pay off the note sooner and reduce the interest expense.
Delinquent tax collection
Schwartz reported that as of the meeting, Aug. 16, delinquent taxes for 2015, including interest and penalty, is $391,394, which represents a decrease. Schwartz also stated that she had not yet sent out the Delinquent Tax notice statements because she was working with NEMRC on the correct verbiage that has been recommended by counsel. She added that she has had an opportunity this week to meet with about a half dozen people to clarify their taxes and that she felt the exchanges have been positive.

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