Local News

Storm costs come into focus

By Cristina Kumka

KILLINGTON — The town of Killington has a $1.1 million deficit from Tropical Storm Irene, making the number one priority improving the town’s fiscal strength going into the new fiscal year, according to Killington Town Manager Seth Webb.

The town performed approximately $3.1 million of projects, but has only gotten paid back a little over $2 million, making the discrepancy between FEMA reimbursements and actual cost $1.1 million. The town is still waiting on approval for another $423,000 in reimbursements from the federal emergency department, but taxpayers will be on the hook for at least $700,000 that won’t be reimbursed.

The issue was raised at Monday’s regular Select Board meeting, under the agenda topic of 2015-16 budget priorities.

The Board discussed the fact that cash flow has become a challenge, as unassigned fund savings were depleted in lieu of raising taxes to pay for Irene damage, and what actions could be taken to remedy it.

“Our savings is depleted,” said Selectwoman Patty McGrath. “We need to get our savings back.”

Webb suggested some steps the town could take to replenish those savings funds including effective delinquent tax collection, holding the line on expenses, and small tax increases.

Tax anticipation loans can continue to be used as a tool in the short term and will decline annually as savings increase, Webb said.

Also reported was the town-run Green Mountain National Golf Course’s financial status compared to last year. Webb reported that the course revenues are currently down $43,000 compared to last year. Consequently, it might be a struggle to get money from the course to contribute $50,000 to offset bond payments made by the town.

Also on the golf budget, Selectman Chris Bianchi suggested some accounting modifications to provide the board and public more information on golf revenues

The board is also considering a fund balance policy, doing more road work in house as opposed to contracting out and reforming the local option tax. Regarding the option tax, the board is awaiting a recommendation from the EDTC, which is expected in September.

Cristina Kumka is a contributor to The Mountain Times, cristina_kumka@yahoo.com.


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