Jim Haff made some interesting points in his last letter to the editor last week. As a selectboard member I agree that it is our job to set the budget and take care of existing infrastructure, etc. It is also our job to set policy for the town concerning its present and its future. One way we have done that is to have adopted a Town Strategic Plan (originally in 2012), one that keeps us focused on four things.
Fiscal strength, low municipal taxes.
Dependable and efficient services.
Increase tourism, encourage year round employment, growth of town economy.
Maintain, encourage education and culture to enhance life and attract new residents.
All of these are important to the success of our town, not just some. And each area feeds and supports the other.
It is true that our roads need attention, which is why we have thoroughly updated the Capital Plan in the past few years (thank you, Chet Hagenbarth) and jump started the road repaving with the 2014 loan in which we saved money through detailed planning. We were able to pave additional roads that year as well as the park and ride at no added cost. We have improved our gravel roads to limit erosion, used millings to improve the road to the golf course, all saving future time, energy and money. We have chosen to delay the paving of the next section of the Killington Road so that we can save time and money by doing it in conjunction with the sidewalk project.
The Board has formed (over a year ago) a committee to study the fire station issue (they have presented findings) and currently the town is researching a suitable location and design.
As to the pool, yes, it will need to be replaced in approximately 10 years and the Board has already been discussing construction and funding issues.
The irrigation system is also continually being looked at by the golf committee and Board. The system is in many ways analogous to plumbing in a house. It does not need total replacement. It has important components that may need replacement, but much of it is updated, repaired or replaced as needed, and in sections. This is all laid out in the golf capital plan, which is fully funded by golf course revenues, not taxes.
The Park & Ride, which shares the parking lot with the Welcome Center, cost the town only around $30K to develop due to the wise use of grants as well as town resources. The KPAA Welcome Center was purchased and renovated with totally private funding. And, the partnership with the KPAA has allowed the town to vastly improve the curb and safety of the Route 4/Killington Road intersection, creating a welcoming gateway for both residents and property owners to be proud of, and tourists to enjoy.
As far as taking care of the town goes, Mr. Haff and I have areas of agreement, but several philosophical differences. In addition to taking care of the “nuts and bolts” I believe a municipality must be interested in supporting its own economy to have a successful future. And as the VCRD meeting and our progress so far has shown, we can invest wisely in our future, create partnerships and take advantage of grants to become the town we need to be, and still keep our taxes reasonable.
I apologize for the lengthy read of my letters, but it is far easier to misleadingly complain that things are not being addressed in a few sentences, than it is to actually explain what is truly happening and how it is being dealt with.
Patty McGrath, Chair, Killington Selectboard