VERNON — In the aftermath of impassioned testimony by citizens and businesspeople to visiting Vermont legislators, several development groups in Windham County are asking for $2.3 million in state aid to deal with the impact of the planned closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and the potential loss of hundreds of well-paying jobs and millions of dollars in local taxes.
Local officials in Vernon said the county needs help coping with the closure of the plant, planned for late 2014.
“You’ve reaped the benefit of billions and billions of taxes because of a decision the people of this town made. Now we need your help,” Vernon selectboard chairwoman Patty O’Donnell told members of the Vermont Legislature’s health, energy and commerce committees, who traveled to Vernon to discuss the future without Vermont Yankee.
The House committees traveled to Vernon to hear about concerns, economic and otherwise, facing the region as the plant prepares to close its doors.
Currently, the plant employs about 620 people and has an average salary of $100,000. The plant pays about $1.15 million in local taxes every year.
Patricia Moulton-Powden, of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. said the organization is asking for the $2.3 million for marketing to attract more businesses and a redevelopment director.
“It is an effort to have the state reinvest in our economy,” said Powden. “We need to feel the love.”
A representative of plant owner Entergy Nuclear said the company had not decided on how it will eventually dismantle the plant.
Some local leaders called for its immediate decommissioning while Entergy could decide to wait years before doing so.
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