Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort are pleased to announce staff promotions in the Marketing Department.Jennifer Smith has been promoted to the position of Marketing Manager. Jennifer joined Okemo in 1991 and served as the Manager of Guestand Information Services for nine years. Since 2000, she has held the position as Communications Manager.Lori Edwards has been promoted to the position of Online Marketing Manager. Lori came to Okemo in 1998 and served as a Marketing Assistant. In her new role, she will oversee all aspects of Internet marketing and communications and web support for both Okemo and Mount Sunapee.”This is very exciting time at Okemo with the expansion of the new Jackson Gore area well underway,” commented Diane Mueller. “Both Jennifer and Lori support our vision for the future of Okemo and for the Ludlow region and are valuable members of our Okemo Team.”
By Neale F Lunderville. On Town Meeting Day, many voters will be confounded by a riddle on their school budget ballot: how is it that we cut school spending, but our property tax bill went up anyway?The answer is buried deep within the labyrinth of Act 60 and Act 68, the complex and impenetrable school funding laws that still confuse taxpayers many years after their enactment. This system – which Governor Douglas has called “fundamentally broken and beyond repair” – threatens another year with higher property taxes at a time when families and small businesses can least afford them. And it only gets worse as the problem compounds in years to come.Since the passage of Act 60, school spending has grown dramatically with the true cost to taxpayers masked by a surging housing market and expanding subsidies. As home values climbed, lawmakers and school boards could lower the property tax rate and still collect more than enough for schools.Budgets ballooned as schools hired more teachers and staff – even as the number of students declined. Since 1997, the number of students in Vermont’s schools has dropped by 11.5%, yet the number of school staff increased by 23%. Looking at it another way, for every 3.4 students we lost from the classroom, schools hired an additional teacher or staff person. At this rate, how long will it be until we have more staff than students?As budgets went up, property taxes followed. Vermonters will pay $504.5 million more in property taxes next year than they did in 1999, an annual tax increase of 6.7 percent, easily double the rate of inflation. This was never sustainable.Today, for all these reasons and others, property tax payers are facing something unseen since before Act 60: the statewide tax rate will go up by 2 cents. This means that taxpayers will be paying as much as $59 million more in property taxes next year than this year – a number that will continue to grow without meaningful reform and cost cutting starting right now.This problem has been building on the horizon for years – with Governor Douglas repeatedly sounding the warning call. Since 2005, Douglas has offered annual proposals to the Legislature to lower property taxes by controlling spending. He proposed that school budget increases greater than inflation require 60 percent voter approval. He twice proposed to cap school spending growth at 3.5 percent per pupil and last year he proposed to level fund per pupil spending. Each of these proposals was either rejected or passed over.Further, the Governor aggressively opposed education spending increases, including legislative initiatives to expand property tax subsidies to upper income households and elimination of caps on special education spending. Unfortunately, the Governor’s calls for restraint were ignored. In January, Governor Douglas offered another series of ambitious education reforms to reduce school spending, realign education expenses and reform Act 60. He proposed normalizing school staffing ratios to more responsible levels, increasing cost sharing for teacher health insurance to 20 percent, and encouraging school district consolidation. He also proposed making teachers’ retirement an education expense (instead of competing with human services funding) and progressively graduating tax subsidies for taxpayers with higher incomes to protect the entire subsidy for lower income Vermonters.Without these reforms, property tax payers will see rates rise 2 cents. With the Governor’s proposal, everyone’s statewide rate will drop 1 cent – saving taxpayers $33 million.Vermont’s school system is among the best funded in the nation. The Governor’s proposals will not change our good standing. We can give property tax payers a break and put education funding on solid financial footing without compromising our children’s educational opportunities.In the halls of the State House, members of both parties are having conversations about possible reforms, and there is a growing understanding of the problem. But we cannot confuse understanding for action. Without action on meaningful reform, the sting of increasing property taxes will burn for years to come.Our current crisis was avoidable. But if we act now – both locally and in Montpelier – we can fight back against its worst effects. Another year of inaction is not an acceptable option.Neale F. Lunderville is the Secretary of Administration for the State of Vermont.
Tags: Douglas BamweyanaSC VillaStarTimes Uganda Premeir LeaguetopURA FC Villa finished the first round in 13th position (Photo by Villa Media)StarTimes Uganda Premier League URA FC vs SC VillaMandela National Stadium, NambooleSaturday, 02-02-2019 @4pmNAMBOOLE – SC Villa will be hoping they can kick-start their StarTimes Uganda Premier League season when they travel away to URA FC.The Jogoos had a near to disastrous first round, winning only two of their first 15 games and consequently sit only a spot away from the relegation zone.In the mid-season break, they made 13 signings as they attempt to fend off relegation fears, early and hopefully finish in a respectable place on the standings.Against URA, they face a side that is so capable of causing them issues despite still being without head coach Sam Simbwa who is suspended.“It will be a really tight affair, recorgnized Villa coach Douglas Bamweyana ahead of the game.“URA is very well organised and gives little away but as Villa, we have every intention to quiet and unlock them for the result we need.Villa are expected to be without the suspended Charles Lwanga. Returning left-back John Adriko is also a doubt for the game after suffering a knock in training but the rest of the team is fit to feature.Bamweyana will hope Bashir Mutanda can continue his first round goalscoring exploits that saw him bang in 10 in 15 games.For URA, despite losing only one game in the first round, the Tax Collectors failed to convert most of their games into victories. Simbwa’s chargers drew a League high 10 games and won only 4, form that sees them currently occupy 7th on the log.Their main issue was putting the ball in the net and the acquisition of Cromwel Romwothio from Paidha is one targeted and improving their goal scoring.Match Facts:Both sides use Mandela National Stadium as their home ground and in the first game this season, they drew 0-0.Saturday’s game will be the 18th time the two sides meet since April 2011. In the past 17 meetings, URA has won 5, Villa 4 and also seen 8 draws.The reverse fixture last season ended 0-0.URA have not beaten Villa in any of their last 5 League fixtures (D3 L2).Going into the fame on Saturday, URA have lost only one of their last 20 games in all competitions (W6 D13). Their only loss in that period came at the hands of leaders KCCA FC earlier this month.At home, they have lost only 2 of their last 16 competitive games (W7 D7).For Villa, the go into the game winless in their last four encounters (D2 L2).Away from home, the Jogoos have won only one of their last 14 fixtures (D9 L4).The other game on Saturday:-Bright Stars vs Onduparaka FC @4pmComments