By Cristina Kumka
The Killington Pico Area Association has withdrawn its proposal to manage town events and the budget that funds those events.
The contract, proposed in June, would have put the responsibility for non-winter season event recruitment and sponsorship on the newly-formed Killington Pico Area Association, that took the place of the Killington Regional Chamber of Commerce. The KPAA board consists of select business owners and representatives from the town and Killington Resort.
“Basically, we have been working together and we are making a lot of progress,” said Vince Chiarella, treasurer of the KPAA, at the Killington Select Board’s July 7 meeting. “The town would be protected as much as us, but if people aren’t going to be happy with it (the contract) then we would be happy to continue working with the town,” as they have been doing without a contract.
Killington Town Manager Seth Webb, a member of the KPAA executive board, said the KPAA was pleased with the Select Board’s unanimous support last month of the creation of a contract but the executive board ultimately decided to keep the “status quo.”
Howard Smith, president of the KPAA, had asked the Select Board for a proposal June 2 that would give the KPAA financial and planning control of town events established by the EDT since 2008. KPAA’s proposal was intended to streamline processes as, currently, the town, KPAA and the resort are promoting the same events and, in many cases, duplicating efforts.
Webb said the idea of a formal contract resulted in too much misinformation in the community and, instead, the executive board decided to “focus on getting people here and entertaining them,” said Webb. “With that said, the KPAA has made a standing offer to the town to use its offices as much as needed. There is more we can do to work together to maximize resources,” he added.
According to the 2014 budget, roughly $264,000 was spent on administration, special events and marketing inside the town’s EDT department. That budget is down approximately $16,000 from the prior year’s spending, Webb reported.
Select Board Chairwoman Patty McGrath called the idea of a formal contract something created for “protection.”
McGrath said the contract idea was the result of the resort pushing to get the option tax repealed earlier this year, an initiative the resort has since dropped.
If the option tax is eventually repealed by town vote, the town would no longer be able to do marketing and events, McGrath said. She said under the contract, all town events “were going to transition to the KPAA but that’s not happening now.”
“The citizen committee will continue to be the driver of what we are doing,” McGrath said, referring to the EDT commission.
In response to Killington resident Vito Rasenas’ question, “Was the town going to pay her [Amy Morrion’s] full salary?” Webb said Amy Morrison, the town’s part-time marketing and events coordinator and the director of KPAA, will get benefits paid through the town. Chiarella said Morrison gets paid for 20 hours by the KPAA and 30 hours by the town.
Cristina Kumka is a freelance correspondent for The Mountain Times, [email protected].