Club is taking risks, "Yes they are late, but so what!"
Sep 21, 2017 | 1924 views | 2 2 comments | 90 90 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor,

Recent articles in the Deerfield Valley News have pointed out that the Hermitage Club is late paying their property taxes and there is even talk of tax sales to get the taxes that are late.

Yes they are late, but so what! The Hermitage Club and Jim Barnes and his partners are investing millions of dollars into the Mount Snow area. There will be bumps along the way, which is inevitable in a project of this magnitude. Keep in mind that the Haystack ski area has failed countless times under different ownership and for years was completely closed.

Mr. Barnes is taking a huge risk, in a risky business to begin with, with no real help from the state or Dover or Wilmington. We should be encouraging him rather than discouraging him. Keep in mind all the incentives other states have thrown at corporations to entice them to move. Look at Connecticut, a failing state, as an example. They just recently lost GE and Aetna to other states willing to give those companies an economic incentive to relocate! What has Vermont done to help Mr. Barnes?

Obviously you can’t relocate a mountain, but considering Haystack’s history, I do not understand why the taxes owed, which is found money for the most part anyway, should have been factored into the towns’ budgets in the first place. You shouldn’t spend or budget for what you don’t have, that is simple Economics 101.

Having said that, also keep in mind, that taxes are being paid currently and on time by all the many expensive homes that have been built and sold because of the Hermitage Club. These homes have added to the tax base! Yes, I know there are some properties that were paying taxes such as some of the inns that Mr. Barnes has bought, but these probably would be failing and not paying taxes anyway, however if he succeeds they will succeed.

With the towns collecting an extra 1 percent tax for “economic development, isn’t the Hermitage the biggest “economic” development besides Mount Snow? Every effort should be made to help the Hermitage Club succeed including by the way the permitting process. Dover and Wilmington will eventually get the taxes due and probably with interest if Mr. Barnes succeeds. The entire Deerfield Valley will be better off and benefit with the success of the Hermitage Club. The alternative would be devastating.

In the meantime I suggest to the towns, do not budget for what you do not have. The Hermitage Club is bringing a whole new group of people (second-home owners and their guests with money), who are eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores, and helping to keep the valley growing. The Hermitage Club must succeed.

Finally, Dover should not take Mount Snow for granted as well. Dover should be doing everything they can to help them as well. Peaks Resorts is putting millions of dollars into improving Mount Snow. Let’s not forget about them but be thankful and helpful in any way possible. After all, the local ski industry is really the main economy here, and really the only engine that pays for almost everything either directly or indirectly in this area.

Bob Stone

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Mark OMaley
September 22, 2017

If "so what" is the attitude - I suggest we all stop paying our taxes - since it's no big deal.

The Hermitage is not the only engine in the area, and since they are not paying taxes, or local contractors - they are not an economic engine, they are an economic drain.

Let them fail. They/their management have proven themselves to be selfish and not interested in being good neighbors.
dan bolduc
September 22, 2017
The Hermitage Club, is, as you said "taking risks" by investing in the area and if they are successful as planned, it will be prosperous to the entire area.

The Hermitage Club is a high profile entity and should be setting a good example and not be late in paying their taxes and owing thousands of dollars to local contractors and businesses as it creates bad feelings.

Like you said, towns should not budget for money they do not have so should The Hermitage Club. If they are developing or buying these properties, they should also know that part of the expense associated with doing is is the required property tax and should budget accordingly or not buy/develop until they can do so.

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