It is disingenuous to assert that local efforts to adopt a local option tax (LOT) were something that was sprung on the select boards of Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston without any warning or knowledge that the work was underway.
That suggestion was made at the Waitsfield Select Board meeting this week when a board member said that no input or information was provided to the local select boards as a subcommittee of the Mad River Valley Planning District developed the proposal for the three towns to adopt a 1 percent local option tax and use the funds collected to invest in the future of the community.
The idea of a tri-town LOT was very much a part of the very well-attended (including by select board members from each town) Vision and Vitality workshop series and subsequent economic summit at the Gate House at Lincoln Peak.
After that series and during the subsequent work of the Economic Vitality Project work, the LOT remained part of the discussion. That effort was then taken up by a subcommittee of the Mad River Valley Planning District.
There were and are members from all three select boards on that subcommittee and those members reported back to their various boards throughout the process when the current proposal was being developed. That is reflected in the minutes from each town as well as in the minutes of the Mad River Valley Planning District steering committee.
There was a May 5, 2018, select board retreat when select board members from Warren, Fayston and Waitsfield met and a tri-town LOT was discussed, including a discussion of how LOT funds could be invested in the community.
Mad River Valley Television has filmed many, many of these public discussions of a tri-town LOT and The Valley Reporter has published numerous stories in the run up to the tri-town select board hearing where the subcommittee presented its current proposal.
It’s flat out revisionist history to suggest that this proposal came out of nowhere or that the eight months that the subcommittee worked on the proposal was a secret.
It’s odd that members of the Warren and Fayston boards were not taken by surprise by the LOT efforts and yet some in Waitsfield seem surprised.