Killington votes in favor of local option tax

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(Host)  Killington residents approved a 1% local option tax to fund a new town office for economic development.  

But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the two-to-one victory was hard won.   

(Keck)    Killington moderator MB Neisner jokingly set a bright yellow hard hat next to the podium at the start of yesterday’s meeting.   But once the ballot item asking voters to approve the local option tax came up, he brought out real protective gear

(Neissner)  "And prior to starting I’d like to have the constables come up.”  (laughter)

(Keck)   Two uniformed constables walked up and strapped Neisner into a form-fitting bullet-proof vest.

(Neisner) "No head shots."

(Keck)   Neisner was joking, of course, but the tax issue has been a divisive one in the town.    Proponents, like Charles Demarest, argued that the town needs sustainable revenue to boost year-round development.

(Demarast)“Make no mistake about it, this vote is about a great deal more than money.  It’s about who will control the destiny of this town.   Either the residents of Killington through their officials, or a privately owned company who has yet to give them any reason or history to place your trust in their hands."

(Keck)    Killington officials have opposed the tax, saying too high of a percentage has to stay in Montpelier.   

Just days ago, resort officials offered to donate $250,000 to the local chamber of commerce – if residents voted the tax down.   

While many liked the idea, it wasn’t enough, and Killington’s 1 percent local option tax on rooms and meals, sales and alcohol goes into effect October 1.  

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Killington.

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