Politics

Killington receives preliminary TIF approval, a move that could revitalize the town’s resort village

Skiers take to the slopes at the Killington resort during the 2021 Thanksgiving week. File photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger

The town of Killington received preliminary approval on Thursday for its Tax Increment Financing district, which it projects will create $285 million in growth over the next decade.

The resort town will use TIF to fund over $62 million in infrastructure investments, including municipal water buildout and updates to its central artery, Killington Road. 

A Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF, is a concise area targeted for development that requires infrastructure to achieve further growth. Once approved, a town uses the increased property taxes generated by the TIF development to fund the infrastructure. Optimally, the system allows towns to create infrastructure otherwise unaffordable without significant tax increases. Proposed districts are approved by the Vermont Economic Progress Council.

Killington Resort is one of Vermont’s largest ski areas, yet efforts to modernize its village area have sputtered for decades. “Since the 1980s, plans to construct a ski village at the base of the Resort have been thwarted for a variety of reasons, primarily the significant initial infrastructure investment required to launch,” reads the town’s application, noting that Killington’s property values have decreased in the last decade. 

In its approval motion, the council stated that the decision “is considered partial,” as the town must continue to report on the financial viability of the project, as well as other criteria, such as the jobs created. The council also encouraged Killington to consider alternative state and federal sources of funding to decrease the town’s overall debt.

Killington’s TIF application proposes two primary infrastructure problems that the town hopes to solve through the TIF program. First, a lack of municipal water service has made development near Killington Resort expensive. Two new wells already exist along Route 4 — about 1,000 vertical feet below Killington’s village — and TIF funding will create a municipal water system that allows access to the Route 4 wells at the top of Killington Road, near the base of the mountain. 

Second, Killington Road, which shuttles visitors from Route 4 up to the mountain, will be rebuilt. The renovations will include expanded sidewalks, bike lanes, bus pullouts, and other improvements needed to streamline the increased use imagined as a result of the TIF buildout. 

The town has partnered with White + Burke Real Estate Advisors, a Burlington-based firm, in the application process. 

“This is not a day that came lightly or easily,” Stephanie Clarke, vice president of White + Burke, said at Thursday’s Vermont Economic Progress Council meeting. “I think it represents a lot of constructive thought and analysis — and reanalysis — over the last six months.”

Presenting the findings from a review of Killington’s application, Angie Farrington, the council’s program manager, said the proposal is projected to create 275 jobs in the TIF district. Killington will use 85% of its TIF-generated municipal property tax increases and 70% of its education property tax increases to pay off the debt it incurs to finance the infrastructure improvements.

Between 2010 and 2020, Killington’s population increased by over 73%, one of the fastest rates in the state, and an outlier in Rutland County, which saw an outflow of residents in the last decade. Advocates for Killington’s TIF project believe the infrastructure investment will support current and future growth.

Land in the village area is primarily owned by SP Land Company and Killington Resort. The first phase of the TIF buildout will involve connecting municipal water to the Six Peaks Killington development, a proposed development of condos, duplexes and single-family homes centered around the resort. 

The Vermont Economic Progress Council’s approval of Killington’s TIF district is only one step in the ongoing effort. Townspeople must vote on approving a bond to take on the initial debt. Construction is projected to begin next spring.

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Ethan Weinstein

About Ethan

Ethan Weinstein is a general assignment reporter focusing on Windsor County and the surrounding area. Previously, he worked as an assistant editor for the Mountain Times and wrote for the Vermont Standard.

Email: [email protected]

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