Vermont treasurer Beth Pearce, working with the General Assembly, Vermont League of Cities and Towns and the Vermont Bankers Association, today announced the launch of the Municipal Emergency Statewide Education Property Tax Borrowing Program to assist municipalities as they manage their finances and cash flow needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on eligibility, the program will cover interest incurred for short-term borrowings that were made for the purpose of managing the cash flow effects of statewide education property tax deferrals and delays as a direct result of COVID-19. Eligible “short-term borrowing costs” do not include principal payments, fees or any interest on borrowings not directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Municipalities can learn more, and apply, by visiting www.vermonttreasurer.gov/content/local-government.
Throughout the spring, as COVID-19 disruptions took hold, the treasurer’s office worked collaboratively with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, legislative leaders and Vermont Bankers Association to develop a municipal lending program to help local governments navigate revenue volatility. The program (H.951) passed the Legislature on June 2, 2020, and the governor signed the bill into law on June 15.
“On behalf of the cities, towns and villages around the state, we are grateful to the Legislature, the governor and the state treasurer for their support of H.951,” said Maura Carroll, executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. “We believe it will offer much needed assistance by paying the interest costs on short-term borrowing to address municipal revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.”
“We work to foster strong partnerships between the state, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and our local banks so that we are prepared to act in times of need,” said Beth Pearce, state treasurer. “The rapid launch of the Municipal Emergency Statewide Education Property Tax Borrowing Program will help municipalities reduce borrowing expenses as they manage COVID-19 disruptions, like potential education property tax deferrals or delays in revenues.”
“The banking industry appreciates the Legislature’s efforts to pass this very important bill to assist municipalities during these challenging times,” said Chris D’Elia, executive director of the Vermont Bankers Association. “Like so many others impacted by COVID-19, municipalities have their own set of challenges to work through. We stand ready to work with Treasurer Pearce and local governments to successfully implement the program as contemplated in H.951.”
“I want to thank our municipal partners, the League of Cities and Towns and the Vermont Bankers Association for working collaboratively with lawmakers and the governor as we work to provide flexibility to communities during this challenging time,” said Treasurer Pearce. “We’re all in this together. The treasurer’s office is here to provide support as we navigate this unprecedented crisis.”