The Vernon Select Board has signed a one year contract with Entergy that will stabilize the town’s tax base through March 2015.
The agreement sets the value of the Vermont Yankee plant at $280 million for the entire fiscal year. The current assessment is $300 million.
Officials say the deal is a good one for the town, since the plant will stop selling power halfway through the contract, in December 2014.
Vernon Select board chairman Patti O’Donnell says the agreement buys the town some time to plan for life without its biggest taxpayer.
“We’ve met with them twice,” O’Donnell says. “We negotiated a fantastic one-year contract for the town that really gives us some breathing space. But we all know what the future is.”
Vernon has 2,100 residents and an annual budget of $2 million. The town has a police department, a public pool and many other municipal services. O’Donnell says taxes from Entergy pay for half of it.
“We have had resources for a lot of years that other areas in our area have not had,” O’Donnell says. “So we do have a large budget that needs to be cut.”
The town is planning a public meeting on Jan. 20 to consider where those cuts should be.
O’Donnell says the board will resume talks with Entergy after town meeting to hammer out a five or ten-year tax agreement.