Killington voters face budget surplus; no tax increase
By Josh O’Gorman
staff writer | January 29,2013
KILLINGTON — Select Board Chairman Chris Bianchi has reason to be pleased. The town started the fiscal year with a deficit and is projecting a surplus at the end. And in March, residents will vote on a budget that won’t raise the tax rate.
“Despite rising costs and lower property tax revenues, this budget proposal level funds the operating expenses and addresses the town’s priorities without increasing taxes,” Bianchi said after the board unanimously ratified a proposed budget of $5,093,080, an increase of $252,168, or 5 percent, compared to the 2012 budget of $4,840,912.
This figure includes the general fund, recovery expenses for Hurricane Irene and undesignated funds.
When looking at the current grand list, this proposal will not raise the current residential tax rate of 28.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The town started the current year in the red with a $1.1 million deficit, due to rebuilding after the flooding following Hurricane Irene, and is finishing with a $21,000 surplus.
“We’ve been very aggressive in going after state and federal grants,” said Town Manager Seth Webb. “Also, we’ve trimmed our budgets for marketing and special events, because as they become established they become self-sustaining.”
Webb began his Killington career in economic development, holding a position that no longer exists. The proposed marketing budget is decreasing 33 percent, or $43,072, from $130,722 to $87,650. Likewise, the budget for special events is decreasing $17,550, or 10 percent, from $177,100 to $159,550.
“We’ve changed economic development from a department to a mission of the community,” Webb said.
Town employees will feel the effect of budget cuts when receiving medical care. For the first time, they will be required to pay health insurance deductible. The expense to the town is dropping 6 percent, or $11,513, from $198,521 to $187,008.
There are increases to the budget, of course. The library budget is rising 4 percent, or $7,658, from $182,061 to $189,719, as the town plans to buy more electronic books for Sherburne Memorial Library.
The constables operating budget is up 21 percent, or $14,050, from $65,450 to $79,500. Salaries and wages are increasing $8,050 to $55,000 and the town is proposing to set aside $9,000 into a capital fund to purchase new cruisers in the future.
There will be an informational meeting about the budget at 7 p.m., March 4 at Killington Elementary, and will vote by ballot the following day.