Killington, Vermont

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Killington, Vermont
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Killington, Vermont

Killington is a town (known from 1761 until 1999 as Sherburne), located in Rutland County, Vermont. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 1,095. The town is also home to a well-known ski resort of the same name.

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Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 121.4 km² (46.9 mi²). 120.8 km² (46.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.6 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.47% water.

Political issues

In protest against what at least 2/3rds of voting residents consider unjust treatment from the state of Vermont in tax and tourism development matters, Killington voted in March 2004 (and again in March 2005) to pursue secession from Vermont and admission into New Hampshire, which lies 25 miles to the east. [1] (http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36532)

Supporters claim that the townspeople pay the state $10 million per year in property taxes and $10 million a year in sales taxes (as well as income and other taxes), but receive only $1 million a year to help fund their school system. In the words of Town Selectman Butch Findeisen, "There is a point where sharing turns to looting." Others dispute many of the town's claims:

"The town manager would love to tell you how many millions of dollars Killington sent to the state. Well many of those millions of dollars are sales and rooms and meals taxes. Those weren’t sent from Killington to the state. They were sent from tourists and others that were in Killington and were required to pay taxes levied by the state of Vermont."—Rep. Mark Young, R-Orwell ([2] (http://www.nhpr.org/view_content/8429/))

School funding has long been a matter of contention in Vermont, primarily centering around the substantial disparity in ability to fund schools through property taxes, between towns with large grand lists and those with small ones. In 1997, the Vermont Supreme Court, in the case of Brigham v. State, decided that the disparity was such as to unconstitutionally deprive children in poorer towns of equal opportunity to an education. The court left it to the legislature to come up with a remedy. The legislature responded by passing a highly controversial law known as Act 60. This law provided for a state-wide school property tax, per-pupil block grants, and sharing of tax revenue from property weathy towns to property poor towns. Act 60 was revised in 2003 by Act 68, but retains the state-wide property tax. It is as a result of these pieces of legislation that Killington pays more property tax to the state than it gets back directly in the form of blockgrants. The extent to which a town like Killington may receive benefits in addition to the blockgrant, such as possibly lower social welfare costs and higher worker productivity as a result of a better educated population in the state, as well as from general state services (such as highway maintainance, tourism promotion, etc.), is less easily quatified.

An economic study commissioned by the town determined Killington would save a minimum of $7 million per year, excluding individual state income tax savings. Copies of this study were distributed at the 2004 Town Meeting and are available from the town clerk's office.

The town also claims to have suffered long term problems with restrained development under the state's Act 250 environmental law, which, in an attempt to control unrestrained growth and to balance the interests of developers and their neighbors, set up a system of environmental review boards, in which those affected by the planned developement can challenge a proposed developement plan. Supporters claim the expense of dealing with this has lead Killington Ski Resort to have the highest lift ticket prices in the country. Supporters further claim that the state of Vermont has steadfastly refused to redress the grievances of the town and its people, and that their own state legislator, who represents Killington and Mendon, Vt refuses to stand up for the town's interests.

On March 2, 2004 200–300 residents voted, by voice vote, for the secession proposal passing it by a wide margin. On March 1, 2005, the measure was passed again, this time by ballot, with nearly 2/3 voting in favor.

The legal decision will be made by the states of Vermont and New Hampshire and Congress.[3] (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Northeast/03/02/killington.secession.ap/index.html) Article IV of the U.S. Constitution requires that when the boundaries of existing states are altered, the action requires the consent of the legislatures of all states involved, as well as of Congress. While the New Hampshire House has approved a bill establishing a commission to meet with a similar Vermont commission, which has been approved as "Ought To Pass" by a State Senate commitee for a full Senate vote, the Vermont legislature is not generally expected to consent without an expensive federal court battle. In 2005, Vermont state Reps. Mark Young, R-Orwell, Richard Marron, R-Stowe, and Kathleen Keenan, D-St. Albans City introduced House Bill 426 that would require Killington to pay "exit fees" to reimburse the state for "stranded assets of the state, including those relating to education, transportation, and public service". The legislation would also strip Killington residents of all benefits of Vermont resident status, including instate tuition and tuition assistance.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,095 people, 500 households, and 282 families residing in the town. The population density is 9.1/km² (23.5/mi²). There are 2,528 housing units at an average density of 20.9/km² (54.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 97.63% White, 0.37% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.00% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 500 households out of which 25.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% are married couples living together, 5.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 43.6% are non-families. 34.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.19 and the average family size is 2.80.

In the town the population is spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 33.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 42 years. For every 100 females there are 115.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 116.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $47,500, and the median income for a family is $60,125. Males have a median income of $36,618 versus $27,368 for females. The per capita income for the town is $32,066. 7.0% of the population and 6.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.6% of those under the age of 18 and 1.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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