city council

Feb 22, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall- Burlington City Council Meeting

**Councilor late: (5 mins) – Sharon Bushor, Ward 1 and (15 mins) – Jane Knodell, Ward 2
Councilor absent: Carleton, Ward 1

City Councilors General City Affairs

  • Councilor Curley: Supports Councilor Bushor’s re-election, she has done a lot of work to help the council
  • Councilor Knodell: Appreciates donation of money from Citizen’s Bank to the community
  • Councilor Knodell: Texas Hold Em Tournament at Nectar’s on 2/20 low key, professional
  • Councilor Ashe: YMCA forum at Barnes, 7PM
  • Councilor Blais: Ethan Allen tower celebration on August 13th

Mayors General City Affairs

  • Absentee ballots available for those unable to make it to the polls on March 1st; Adelphia’s monopoly on Burlington will no longer be, city looking into offering service for Burlington

Public Forum

  • Rep. Mark Lawson: The intersection at Rte. 127 and North Avenue needs to be modified, as it is dangerous to pedestrians
  • Winston LaPase Jr.: In the pledge to the flag, the charges against Chris Smith are unjust, and there was no purchase of alcohol for a minor
  • Robert Bussiere: Tear down Moran and place a replica of the Main station paid with a thirty year bond
  • Tim Rollings: Thanks the council for their time and work on Moran
  • Diane Garron: YMCA is flip-floping on benefits to city, Knodell & O’Sullivan if they had it their way, it would not have been voted on (O’Sullivan nods in agreement)
  • Kevin Ryan: Doesn’t want the YMCA there, a recreation center should be there instead
  • Judy Stephanie: Believes the smoking ban should stay in effect as it is
  • Fred (Elks member): Elk organization isn’t private, but a fraternal organization
  • Jim Robar (St. Johns Club): club wasn’t notified of any meeting, even though they were told they would be
  • Lauren (St Johns Club): Smokers choose to be there, no facts about the employees, and the ban is tyranny
  • Frank: What’s next? Guess the councilors know better than citizens do

Smoking ban:

  • Councilor Keogh: Simply will not change mind about the ban, because he doesn’t like smoking… it isn’t a right, but a public health issue
  • Councilor Shannon requests a recess, approved by Montroll
    (During the ‘5 minute’ recess the councilors huddled into 2 groups:
    Group 1- O’Sullivan, Keogh, Shannon, Montroll, then 2 mins later: Bushor and Ellis
    Group 2- Clavelle, Fiermonte, Curley, Knodell, Ashe, and Donovan)
  • Councilors against reconsidering ban altogether: Blais and O’Sullivan (ward 7)
  • Keogh: postpone until the next meeting: March 7th, 2nded by Councilor Shannon

    • Councilor Blais opposed postponement

Presentation on Housing Targets postponed until next meeting

Meeting adjourned at 9:08PM

~*~ Vice Chair’s side note:
Hardy Machia
has an online petition for those against any smoking ban within Vermont:

-Also, the Free Press had an article up on Monday about the possible statewide Smoking Ban in Vermont bars, the committees in Montpelier are requesting the public speak up about tonight (Feb 24th), 6PM in Montpelier. Please, after submitting your name to the petition, please send an email to:
mailto:[email protected] Rep. Ann Pugh (S. Burlington)
mailto:[email protected] Rep. Francis Brooks (Montpelier, through the Sgt. at arms)

The Montpelier debate is over whether a smoking ban would help or hurt businesses within Vermont

Burlington City Council Meeting

Burlington City Council Meeting – January 3rd, 2005
7PM Contois Auditorium

(Next Meeting January 18th)

*Councilor missing: Ellie Blais, Ward 7
Councilor late: Cheryl McDonough, Ward 2

General City Affairs:

  • Councilor Russ Ellis (Ward 4): New North End Youth center
  • 73% of Hunt MS Students’ parents both work
  • 63% of 6th-8th graders are alone from 6-8PM
  • Mayor Peter Clavelle: Turner property (off of East Ave) development; Fundraiser on the 16th for Tsunami victims; June 17th 3PM-7PM Taxes done for free, must be under $35,500 yearly income to qualify for the free tax filing

Presentation by Burlington High School Principal about Athetic Complex

  • Current place is not acceptable: 42 year old structure with drainage problems, sewage problems, cannot use fertilizer because of the proximity to the lake, has had to turn down youth programs because of the degenerative condition of the field, persons with disabilities unable to use the location as it is, if there is an emergency on the field, there’s a delay in response because of the current layout
  • The new facility would be used by the school, as well as the public, which would help the parks and recreation department
  • The school board will go into more specifics at their next meeting on Jan. 11th
  • Principal would like to see the complex on the ballot in March; there would be enough
    time for the school board to specify things & for council to hear for ballot vote
  • Councilor O’Sullivan (Ward 7) Believes high school students should not be driving around

Public Forum:

  • New North End Youth Center:
    • Jen: Easy access from Hunt MS, quality of programs are great; keep youth center where it currently is
    • Beth: Youth center encourages the parks and recreation; would like youth center to partner with parks & rec to check about the Gosse Ct armory location
  • Ending war in Iraq:
    • Paul, Peter, Shiela (Burlington’s Anti-war coalition): resistance is growing in Iraq, troops should be withdrawn, supports the resolution, put to vote in March
    • Nancy: a possible public forum should be established for the resolution
    • (Councilor Montroll of Ward 6 grimaces at the remark)

Moran redevelopment:

  • Ethan: will not serve the needs of the whole city; there should be changes at Leddy park, Memorial Auditorium, or the Gosse Ct Armory
  • Kurt Wright/Maurice Mahoney: Moran infrastructure and the lease term should appear on the ballot

Property Reappraisal presentation:

  • Overall property taxes will increase
  • Tax relief will happen through the proposed sales tax and rebate programs
  • The reappraisals will be completed by the end of January
  • Results of the reappraisal would be released in mid-April
  • Public hearings about reappraisals from April 22 – May 17th
  • Appeal Hearings board (Assessors) from May 26 – June 11th
  • Tax bills (with new reappraisals) mailed July 12th
  • Appeal Hearings board (Tax appeals) from August to November
  • Tax burden will shift from commercial to residential and commercial apartments
  • Tax rates still dependent on final grand list, result of the sales tax, PILOT (Burlington), City budget spending levels, and the per pupil cost levels of the school board
  • Municpal tax rate increased
  • Tax relief programs: target the fixed/lower income and senior citizens, possible renter rebate program

Sales Tax:

  • $2,550,000 would be raised from the sales tax (before sharing occurs)
  • Carleton: Why not lower the rates?
  • City needs more money; some of the rates are fixed by the charter (ie Library);
  • General tax rate of around 38% is designated by the charter as well; the reappraisal is not the only thing increasing the taxes: example- grand list
  • Ellis: Are the market values of the residential properties more than the commercial properties? Yes
  • Shannon: Could there be different tax rates for the commercial and residential? No, they are taxed at the same rate, which is fixed in the city charter
  • O’Sullivan: What is the PILOT program? The burlington-based program, not Vermont; incorporates the electric, water, and wastewater; treated as commercial properties, therefore their proportiaon of rate will go down; will lose 700,000 in the municipal budget – council could adjust the rate so money is not lost (as was done in 1994)
  • Ashe: Could the ratio be raised from 100 to 120? The ratio would have to be raised to 137 to make up for the loss in the budget

-Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to Elect mayor:

  • Problem with the time difference between council approving the IRV and the mayoral elections; IRV will go to the proper committee to determine how to proceed, two public hearings are required to put it in place and then council meeting on Jan 15th, 2005

Public hearings: January 14th at noon and January 18th at the City council meeting

Sales Tax:

  • Clavelle: It would reduce the growth of the property tax; it’s not just a Burlington issue (ie Williston); voters in the past have said they want alternatives to the
    property taxes; there would be an increase in taxes for the middle income home owners and middle income renters of Burlington (ie 20% increase in property tax)

Burlington Electric Borrowing Increase

  • Curley: Burington Electric Department’s borrowing hasn’t kept up with inflation
  • Ellis: Why borrow more money? Increase of cost of improvements to the city facilities (ie Electric dept), maintenance of the city buildings (ie Leddy, memorial), and deferred problems of the existing facilities
  • Bushor: The sales tax will not increase the debt over the long run
  • Passed: 13 votes yes, 1 vote opposed (Curley)

*Councilor Curley leaves

Iraq resolution:

  • Fiermonte: Would like to see it on the ballot in march, and re-wording done on 18th
  • Bushor: Wants to know how citizens feel about the war; it’s more for the community, not for the president
  • Carleton: Would like it to be re-worded in committee
  • Perry: Cannot do anything to further hurt those in our community already in pain (ie families of those overseas, or those killed overseas)
  • O’Sullivan: Would support the subcommittee for the re-wording
  • Ellis: would like all of the ballot questions in a one sentence, not a paragraph

Meeting Adjourned 10:30PM

Burlington City Council Meeting

December 20th, 2004
7PM Contois Auditorium
(Next Meeting January 3rd)

Presentation by UVM President Dan Fogle: Student affairs

  • By 2008 2,137 new beds will have been added.
  • Mr. Fogle thinks that moving some students out of Burlington will help the current problems.
  • Any students having problems with authorities are dealt with strongly.
  • BPD and UVM police go out on joint patrols on UVM campus.
  • BPD currently filters out offenders by age range and then sends the information to UVM.
  • Currently UVM states 150 incidents per year average.

Public Forum (Open to all questions/comments)

  • UVM should have a study on parking and traffic for the existing off-campus students
  • UVM should require a course regarding repectfullness of city laws; dorms currently have a lack of the rules; there was an incident earlier this year where there were hundreds of students violiating noise ordinance, and only one officer to ticket them, as a result none were caught
  • Kurt Wright: Proponents of the YMCA shouldn’t dismiss opponents as being selfish (Which is what happened at last week’s Public forum on 12/15/04)

General City Affairs:

  • Mayor Clavelle: Sales tax proposal at the next meeting on Jan. 3rd. Human resources director resigning soon.
  • Moran redevelopment vote by city council: Uninamously in favor of a public reforendum – will be placed on the ballot in march.
  • Hospitality resource committee and the Local Control Committee have a bit of overlap in their duties; discussion between councilors Keogh and Bushor about the noise violations of the bars in downtown area; Councilman Keogh says his committee is on the way to merging violations with indoor entertainment permits.
  • Coding Enforcement: the coding data before 2004 was incomplete or unorganized, there is and was no past performance of reporting; councilors suggest perhaps a complaint system for Burlington should be set up as there needs to be better supervision of the coding enforcement office; CD committee will oversee & develop a citizen oversight committee for the supervision of the office.

Meeting Adjourned 11PM

Burlington City Council Work Session for Moran & Meeting

December 6th, 2004
Work session on YMCA/Moran development
City Hall 5:30PM

  • VT legislature has the authority to change what the public uses of the waterfront are (ie a hotel still isn’t clarified)
  • Transportation and parking plan is still not resolved
  • Bushor proposes a dedicated YMCA bus; CCTA not determined to do that
  • Public is not informed completely of the development, and there is no word from the current YMCA members of the approval or disapproval of the project (Molly, a YMCA board member, says would like the city to help with the prefunding money)
  • Where will the money for the infrastructure come from? (page seven of the Master document)
  • 3/4 miles down the bikepath there will be a $6 million aquatic center already in the works
  • YMCA has a high turnoer rate for their board members
  • The rehabilitation cost of the project will be $9-10million to improve the existing building on college street, and even after if they did that, there would still be problems; they already spread out for their childcare programs
  • Russ Ellis: what if the YMCA will no longer need the Moran area, as 100years is a long time? The Development agreement doesn’t address this, it will be addressed in the lease
  • Jean: believes she carries the voice of her constituients, and should go ahead without worrying about the details
  • What happens if the $3million for research isn’t available? Out of time for discussion, will br brought up again at the next session

City Council Meeting
Contois Auditorium 7PM

  • UVM taking over University place: privatization of food vendors (nothing is offered in exchange for the area, it has been moved to committee for discussion).

Public Forum on the YMCA/Moran project comments

  • Lake street traffic congestion
  • Other recreation funds diverted for moran (ie Leddy, Memorial auditorium, a New north end youth center, as there are half of the city’s youth served there, currently fighting for land at the armory (no answer given by mayor/CEDO)
  • 54% of Burlington youth feel they don’t matter within the city of Burlington
  • Public in the dark about the proposal, perhaps an advisory question should be on the ballot
  • Alan Sousie:
    • Is the project desirable to town as a whole?
    • The city currently owes $425,000, so why should they only get 5% back?
    • The YMCA is non-profit, therefore no taxable income would become of the project. The city would contribute $2.5 million towards the project… who will be responsible for the long term costs?
    • Are there other options for the existing land?
    • Who determined that the other options are not viable?
    • The Parks & Rec. need money, so why is $ being spent on Moran?
    • What is the plan for the current Y building if they move to waterfront?
    • A good deal of the childcare in Burlington is supported by YMCA.
    • Persons with disabilities do not have access to the features of the YMCA.
  • Hinda Miller: (all of the council members focus their attention to her)
    • There is no formal business plan for the project
    • Where is the real appropriated budget?
    • $8 million for the project seems too low.
    • How the city will finance the infrastructure?
    • Transportation and the contingencies, but no budget?
    • The public should have their voices heard.

Burlington City Council Work Session for Moran & Meeting

November 22nd, 2004
Work session on YMCA/Moran development
City Hall 5:30PM

  • President Montroll calls the session to order.
  • Montroll asks the council if they would like to continue or backdown?

Councilor’s questions:

  • How the city and YMCA’s religious non-descrimination clause… is that an issue? Joe, the president of the YMCA board says no – majority of members are women.
  • Clavelle sees project as a win-win situation
  • Carlton: Why the moran plant for relocation? Wishes citizens would be more vocal The YMCA has outgrown the existing building, no other is as good as the Moran location
  • Blais: If approved, what is the next step in development? The YMCA will place the existing property at college street for sale, and they estimate it will cost them more than $10million for the project, they would like the council’s enthusiastic approval for the project
  • Ellis: Who exactly is the ‘party’ mentioned in the development agreement? The city council and the Parks & Rec. Dept delegate the Moran property.
  • Who is a Burlington resident? (ie are students residents?) Any person that is able to vote within Burlington.
  • Membership fees? Based on scholarship, no one is turned away from them even if they are unable to pay the fees.
  • What happens if there is an extra cost or problem? It will be on the YMCA’s dollar. The YMCA board members mention their fundraising black-out dates of September to November because of the United way partnership.
  • City of Burlington currently owes $425,000 on Moran; estimated value is at $2.5million. An estimated $526,000 to tear the building down.

Work session adjourned – scheduling another work session for December 6th, 2004

City Council Meeting
Contois Auditorium 7PM

Agenda for meeting:

  • Progress review presentation of City market, Onion River co-op
  • Public forum
  • Consent agenda: Taxing owner-occupied duplexes under act 68
  • Winter operations presentation of Public works dept

Public Forum on the YMCA/Moran project comments

  • Adam Stone and Davin (UVM & Johnson state’s Student Government Association)
  • Adam: Personal freedoms of the students are ignored; seen as immature; no represenation of the students in the city government
  • Davin: There is a lack of community within Burlington; council isn’t getting the student’s view of things about the city (Council didn’t really listen; no response given)

Consent agenda:

  • (Curley)Taxing owner-occupied duplexes under act 68: the tax would increase in the non residential more than the commercial & would affect Northgate differently than other properties (passed 13 to 1: Bushor opposed)
  • Loan of $10million for the telecommunications project expansions within Burlington an additional $2million is needed (opposed by Curley)