KILLINGTON - A special selectmen's meeting on Nov. 15 to discuss
an economic development proposal by Selectman Bernie Rome lasted
two and a half hours and produced quite a few opinions.
At the regular meeting on Nov. 13, Rome outlined a list of
things he believes should be done to boost tourism and business. He
said he would like to support the Net Promoter Score program
outlined recently by Killington Resort at the Killington Chamber
Meeting, which rates success by how likely tourists are to
recommend the town as well as the resort to family and friends,
thereby promoting future visits. He would like to limit Economic
Development and Tourism funding to the few summer events that have
proven successful and focus instead on boosting winter business;
phase the 1 percent options tax out; stockpile money from the
options tax for the purpose of reducing town debt; and concentrate
beautification efforts on the Killington Road commercial corridor
rather than Route 4.
Rome also stated he would like to see the board of selectmen
spend far more time discussing the town's future and less "from
lengthy discussions of material that can be better handled at the
Town Manager and Department Head levels."
Chairman Chris Bianchi said he agreed with the latter
"It's pretty well known in Killington that we're light on
policy," he said. "We should address that point in the coming
Haff said he never supported the options tax in the first place,
"but some of the stuff in here doesn't add up to me," he said. "If
we're going to put up a reserve fund, I don't think we should use
it for past debt. We don't have the authority to create a reserve
fund. We'd have to go through the voters."
Rome said the next generation of community leaders is coming
along, and should be given leeway to innovate. He noted new
management at the Killington resort, a new town manager, and the
new publishers at The Mountain Times.
"We can encourage the town to do things that will help them,"
Rome said, adding that the town needed a "big idea" in order to
develop a more diverse economy.
"When I proposed offering free college education, I felt that
was an idea that would draw people," he said. "I never said we
should do it. The Green Bay Packers are community-owned. That's a
"We want to be a four-season resort," Haff said. "Four or five
months isn't the issue. It's how much business you do."
Phil Black argued that the employment base needs to be broadened
beyond tourism. "In order to get people to live here, we have to
have jobs" he said. "There has to be a system for people to make
money. It's ridiculous to say 'let's trash it and try something
Town Manager Seth Webb echoed that sentiment.
"We need to attract businesses not related to tourism for
year-round employment," he said. "We're looking at some tech
Black also observed that local buildings and services are hard to
find. "The only thing in this town that's in the right place is the
elementary school," he said.
Billy Vines voiced his opinion that the options tax should stay.
"If we do away with it, we won't get it back," he said. "It truly
is a windfall."
Haff said the money could be replaced.
"If we add 3 cents to the tax portion, we could drop the sales
tax option," he said.
Alice Siore said more needed to be done to give the town a
"I've lived here a long time and still don't get the feeling of
a pulse," she said. "That can't be helped due to the topography. If
you develop a gateway, you make it look like a town."
The board took no formal action before ending the discussion,
but no doubt these discussions will continue allowing for on-going