Letter, Opinion

Vote “no” to repeal option tax until debts paid off

Dear Editor,

The golf course owes the town of Killington $390,741.45 as of Jan. 31, 2017, even after paying the town $200,000 during the year for borrowing $361,737.53 in 2015. This number was a footnote on page 72 in the Town Report for 2015. When I asked why the golf course needed to borrow such a large amount and when it would be paid back, I was told that it would be paid back from revenues in the year 2016. Well, this did not happen! These numbers do not include payroll and other expenses for the months January through May, which will run at about $22,500 per month or about another $112,000 before the golf course opens again. Also, looking at current bills, taxpayers need to look at golf course improvement and capital expenses. On page 70 of the 2015 Town Report we can see Green Mountain National Golf Course’s capital plan is set to spend $165,562 in 2017, $158,000 in 2018, $112,000 in 2019. The new budget for the golf course as I received it today, Feb. 14, 2017, for capital improvements is now $108,120 which is down from $165,562. Also, there was $55,000 per year to pay for new golf carts.
Yes, the debt has been paid down to approx. $2,900,000 from over $5,000,000 in 2010 thanks to the EDTC monies, but one must look at how it is paid. Divide $2.9 million by five years (2022); $580,000 per year. Add to this the capital expenses, salary increases and benefits, new golf carts and improvements to the irrigation system (which includes four-five new pumps on a 20-year old system). On average over the past six years the debt has been paid down from approx. $5,000,000 to $2,900,000 or about $350,000 per year. We must assume that the Vermont bond is paid off at this time. By the way, the golf carts are now paid for on the lease at about $49,000 per year. We might get another year, but it is now budgeted at $55,000 per year.
So, if you want to change the option tax and reduce the monies coming into the general fund by $400,000 to even more, one must ask how the town of Killington will be able to pay for the golf course debt, capital needs and improvements.
Why does GMNGC need to borrow from the town? How do we get to an operating profit of $101,000 for 2017 when the town is paying all of the borrowed money and loaning $390,000 to the golf course? This does not make sense!
Voting on the change for the option tax is “stupid” not just for the resort or the town but for the taxpayers. Do not forget, we pay into this tax, too! And, do not forget that the irrigation system on the golf course will need to be replaced by 2022. Our town government needs to think about this cost of $1.5 million. This needs to be addressed. I would like to hear from you taxpayers if you think anything about issues in our town.
We should keep the option tax as it is until the golf course is paid off and that will take many years.
The selectmen and women have been sold a bill of goods and taxpayers will feel the effect.

Edwin J. Fowler, Killington

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