After a lengthy legal battle, the Rutland County Parent Child Center has won tax-exempt status in Rutland City.
Mary Zigman, executive director of Rutland County Parent Child Center, says that will save the organization more than $25,000 a year. She says she is "thrilled" by the ruling.
"These are times right now where finances are pressed for everybody," Zigman said, "and so it frees us up to do the work that we’re here to do, which is to serve our families, and to live out the mission, which is to help these kids enter school on a level playing field and support the entire family so we can radically move people out of poverty.”
Zigman said the Rutland County Parent Child Center runs 10 programs that provide prevention and early intervention services to about 1,100 people a year in Rutland County.
Rutland County Parent Child Center first sought tax-exempt status in the city in late 2013, but Rutland City Assessor Barry Keefe determined the properties didn't qualify and so the matter ended up in the court system.
Rutland City officials argued that Rutland County Parent Child Center doesn’t serve the entire public and therefore only benefits a small section of the population.
But Jack Kennelly, the attorney who argued on behalf of Rutland County Parent Child Center, said "that’s like saying an orphanage wouldn’t be serving the public because it only serves orphans."
Kennelly says the Vermont Supreme Court made clear that while the Rutland County Parent Child Center may not serve everyone, and while it may be limited by the size of its facilities, the services it does provide benefits society.