Killington to Secede from Vermont? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Killington to Secede from Vermont?

Killington, Vermont - January 8, 2004

Officials in the town of Killington say the statewide education tax Act 60 is so unfair that the town may be forced to take the drastic step of seceding from Vermont.

"I think it's a last resort, it's a last option," says Killington Town Manager Dave Lewis. "We don't have any other place to go. We're crying out in a vacuum and New Hampshire seems to be perhaps the only avenue we have left."

Lewis says the town selectboard in the community of 1,000 is fed up. At issue is the state system of assessing property tax values in the resort town. Killington claims state tax officials have over-inflated the values forcing property rich towns like Killington to pay an unfair share into the state education fund.

But the Vermont Supreme Court says the state's system is rational and reasonably reliable. Killington's town manager says ruling against them was hardly a surprise because the Supreme Court helped create the statewide property tax.

"They were the ones that basically created the case that set in motion Act 60 and I think they've taken a lot of ownership of that on perhaps more of a legislative venue than a judicial venue," says Lewis.

Lewis says the selectboard has already drawn up a ballot item for Town Meeting Day that will ask town residents to join New Hampshire. He's confident it will pass. And he says it's no joke: "I don't think it's comical. I don't think it's anything but perhaps desperate."

The town selectboard has yet to take a vote on putting the matter before voters on town meeting day. But that could come next week.

The town has also hired legal and economic experts to guide them. Lewis admits it's not at all clear exactly what would happen if the town does vote to secede and join New Hampshire.

Brian Joyce - Channel 3 News

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