Thursday, March 14, 2013

Killington leaders looking to the year ahead

Rutland Herald
Killington leaders looking to the year ahead
   KILLINGTON — The Select Board discussed its priorities for the upcoming year and made appointments during its annual reorganization meeting Tuesday night.    It was the first Board meeting to include Patty McGrath, who on Town Meeting Day unseated incumbent Selectman Jim Haff and secured a three-year seat on the Board.    For the first order of business, board members re-elected Chris Bianchi to serve as chairman. Shortly thereafter, Selectman Bernie Rome welcomed McGrath and acknowledged her presence on the board might result in fewer unanimous votes during the next year.    “Moving on, to what historians might call the ‘post-Haff era,’ I expect there will be a lot of 2-1 votes this year, and that’s OK,” Rome said. “We don’t always need to come to a unanimous decision.”    The board adopted a new policy that will allow board members to halt comment from the audience. Previously, selectmen were prohibited from making such a motion.    “I think we should have the abilityasaboardtosay,‘We’ve addressed this and need to move on,’” Bianchi said.    Town Manager Seth Webb presented a list of items the board might want to take up, including a transition from a calendar year to a fiscal year.    “Right now, we begin the budget process in October and November before we even know where we’re finishing for the year,” Webb said. “The first couple months of the year, we’re spending money before we have an approved budget.”    In a pair of issues that are related by geography at the very least, Webb suggested that some action be taken on the ‍Killington Teen Center building, as well as the possibility of updating the way residents dispose of their garbage.    The vacant Teen Center is in a poor state and would cost far more to repair than to demolish. Webb said removing the structure would free up more room for residents to drop off their garbage.    Also, the town’s trash compactor is old and in need of repairs. Webb said the town could contract with Casella Waste Systems in Rutland for a Zero-Sort facility. The contract would not cost any more than the town pays now to dispose of its garbage, he said, but it would require a long-term commitment.    Another item on the horizon is the future of the former Bill’s Country Store, which was purchased by a consortium of local business owners with the expressed intent of turning it into a tourist information center. Rome said he might oppose the project if private money is not raised.    “I think the business community should be putting a fund together to make Bill’s Country Store a nice project,” Rome said. “If they are waiting for us, I think that’s the wrong thing to do. I see no effort to make it happen. I’m moving in the direction of being opposed to it.”    The board also made several appointments, including David Rosenblum and Jennifer Connolly to the Planning Commission; Martin Post to the Zoning Board of Adjustment; Stephen Nisimblat and Chris Clarke to the Recreation Commission; Ken Lee to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission; David Rosenblum to the Rutland Region Transportation Council; Todd Kowalczyk as energy coordinator; and Lou Grob and John Curtis will serve in the dual roles of fence viewers and weighers of coal.    The board will next meet at 7:30 p.m. March 26 at the Town Office. josh.ogorman

Comment: I hope the following decision, "The board adopted a new policy that will allow board members to halt comment from the audience. Previously, selectmen were prohibited from making such a motion." is not the start of a slippery slope to shut up citizens. But that's what it looks like to me given that it's such a priority after the balance on the board shifted to the "EDT". Not mentioned was Bianchi's suggestion to the board that the EDTC structure and role be reconsidered at a future meeting. Sounds like we're going backwards instead of forwards. 
Interestingly enough, Mr. O'Gorman neglected to mention the board made no mention of the citizen comments as to what the board should consider priorities in the coming year. I brought up the Ski Village which the board unanimously endorsed last year. My contention was that the board should make moving the project along through whatever influence it could bring to bear with state authorities, "errant appellants" in the Act 250 process and stonewalling Regional Planning Commissions. After all it is an estimated billion dollar project which would improve the town's, region's and state's economic health. After all we turned this town upside down, shaking out its pockets and changing hundreds of years of political structure in the name of economic development (and that for only a few business owners). 
You know what response I got. Chris Bianchi said, "So what you're saying is the board needs to educate itself on what's going on with the ski village." Huh? Where have they been? On the moon. You've got to wonder, if they need to be educated on this issue, whether they belong on the board. This happens to be the biggest thing that's come down the pike in this town since the advent of the resort, yet they, at least Bianchi, profess ignorance as to its current status.  You've really got to wonder! This is what we, well, at least a slight majority of the townspeople, voted for?
And to top it all off, they installed Jennifer Connolly, whose strident testimony at the Act 250 against the Ski Village, contributes to the delay of the project, as a Planning Commission member. Fox in the chicken coop?

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