moran plant

Burlington LP News – October 2005


Burlington LP NEWS


October 2005

Sponsored by
The Burlington Libertarian Party
www.burlingtonlp.org

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From the Chair
2. Moran Plant, a Historical Landmark?
3. Bar Smokers Shown the Door
4. Resolutions to Cut Retirement Benefits for City Employees
5. Resolution Regarding Burlington Property Taxes
6. 76-78 Cherry Street
7. Burlington Libertarians in Action
8. Libertarian Humor
9. Quote of the Month
10. Letters to the Editor/ Submit an Article

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From the chair…


This is our fifth newsletter. We will to provide you notice of current issues facing Burlingtonians, views of other Burlington Libertarians, notices of events of interest, and more.

I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Please feel free to send me your comments, suggestions and your own letters and articles to be included in future issues.

In Liberty,

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
contact me

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Moran Plant, a Historical Landmark?

It was recently announced that the Moran Plant will be considered for historical landmark status. It seems to me that the plan behind this is to make it harder for many of the ideas that the people want for the Moran Plant to happen.

It is very obvious that when asked the majority of people want a public park where the moran plant stands however, Mayor Clavelle and CEDO obviously still want their YMCA deal to go through or something similar. I still hear people pushing for it. This is a way to get it back on the ballot.

I remember when we were asked for suggestions, the comment card itself said that the most popular ideas would not necessarily be the ones put on the ballot. This sent an obvious signal that the board and the mayor will be choosing the choices we vote on. Hopefully, they do not intend to put the YMCA and then list a bunch of unpopular choices so that the YMCA becomes the most logical choice and pushing for the moran plant to be declared a historical landmark would make it that much easier for them.

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Bar Smokers Shown the Door.

It’s now official… no smoking in any public or private bars, restaurants and clubs in the whole state of Vermont. It’s unbelievable to me… The businesses along with their employees and customers cannot even decide on their own whether they want to allow smoking or not. The smokers cannot have one place to go to hang out and smoke… not one. I find this so offensive. It’s oppression of a minority by the majority. As the article states, it’s a different crowd. The state has essentially kicked out the minority and replaced them with the majority. Whether you believe smoking is bad for you or not, you should be upset by this decision. It really attacks the essence of our freedoms. By allowing a nanny-state to prohibit risky behaviors gives the state far more power than they should have over us. I will end with a quote from Marilyn Ferguson…

“So long as we need to control other people, however benign our motives, we are captive to that need. In giving them freedom, we free ourselves.”

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Resolutions to Cut Retirement Benefits for City Employees.

The Board of Finance proposed a resolution to lower the cost to the city of the retirement system for city employees. The resolution, noting that city contributions to the retirement fund jumped from about $1.5 million in fiscal year 2002 to $4.6 million this year and are “still not sufficient to meet the actuarially projected future costs.”

This part was a bit confusing to me… when city employees spoke out about this during the public forums at the city council meeting, they were under the impression that they were promised a certain level of benefits in exchange for lower wages. If the city did in fact promise them these benefits then they do owe it to them… they should weasel out of it. However, as we all should should know that retirement funds to have fluctuation and the economy is still not performing as well as it has in the past, so investments are still generally lower. This is the problem for the city’s retirement fund. However, I believe it’s only temporary. Besides, the retirement fund should generally be invested in safe investments such as bonds… maybe they messed up… and now they want to pass on their promises. It’s seems that the city had plenty of money to give the YMCA last year and they have enough money to go after churches to take their property… you can’t trust a politian I guess.

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Resolution Regarding Burlington Property Taxes.

Coucilors Bushor and Fiermonte introduced a resolution to help with the heavy property tax burden facing Burlington residents. The resolution states that the current procedure that pays much of education costs statewide is “convoluted and not well understood by taxpayers” and asks that the city’s representatives to that state Legislature work to revise the property tax system. The resolution calls for:


  • Having the state – instead of the individual cities and towns – collect the statewide property tax and billing homeowners based on their income.
  • Increasing the income threshold to expand the renter rebate program.
  • Giving Vermont municipalities the authority to impose local sales taxes.

Hmm… I wonder why the city is looking to push the taxing responsibility to the state. Here are my thoughts… first, they would rather have the residents blame the state than them, the city councilors… they don’t want the responsibility and of course they want the state to force the Burlington residents to accept a local sales tax as they know very well the voters voted it down last town meeting day. Interesting indeed.

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76-78 Cherry Street

One of the major topics discussed at the last city council meeting was the 76-78 Cherry Street building which is owned by the Catholic diocese. The Catholic diocese decided they wanted the building to be torn down so they could do something else with the property. However, councilor’s Shannon, Montrell and Perry along with Preservation Burlington wanted to not allow the Catholic Diocese the permit to take down their own building because they believe it has some historic and architectural value.

Councilor Shannon particularly fought the hardest for the now allowing the permit as she herself has purchased and restored an older building as her home and she felt that this building was quite a find architecturally and historically. It’s one of the few surviving homes from the urban renewal.

The following issue arose during the discussion:

The city’s legal department has already spent $25,000 in legal costs and there is no idea of how much more to continue as experts will need to be called in to figure out the options. I could not believe that it $25,000 has already been spent just in the initial stages of this deal. That’s enough to buy our home or what Heavenly and I make in nearly two years. It’s just plain reckless to me.

If the city wins, the city would need to study code requirements and the fact remains that the Catholic diocese does not want to the sell or donate the land to the city. They city would need to take it from them!

The resolution is not economically viable for the city… there is too much public cost, opportunity costs, and there are no limits to the expenses… the resolution calls for whatever funds are necessary, no budget or anything. The money involved could buy 100s of affordable housing units, which are much needed.

It was because of these issues that I believe the resolution was voted down by the majority of the councilors. I congratulate them on a good decision. What place does the city have to be trying to take land from a church… what’s next sending cops to take candy from a baby? Really.

I think that problem governmental people have is that whenever they see something that they like or dislike going on in the city the first thought is to write a resolution… create a law. What about a voluntary discussion without force… what about getting together with others that feel the same way to try to work something out. It seems to me that if the building was really valuable, people would want to get together to save it without having to take it by force and forcing the tax payers to pay for the seizure. I’d also like to mention that at one point the city council kicked the audience out so that they could talk in secret about the issue. This was kind of unusual as usually they do that at the end of the city council meeting for other various legal stuff the city is involved in that they don’t want us to know about. They call these “executive sessions”. I think the city council really abuses this power. It’s supposed to be used for the most sensitive of issues not every meeting so that councilors can protect their reputations from the public. They are simply abusing the power and it’s not right to me.

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Burlington Libertarians in Action… (upcoming events)


  • October 5, 2005, 5PM
    CEDO Open House & Dinner
    Will be held at the CEDO office over City Market.

  • October 15th 2005, starts at 9AM
    FreedomFest 2005
    Click here or go to the following url for more details:
    http://www.ethanallen.org/home.html

  • October 17, 2005, 4PM
    Speaker: Stephen Moore
    Saint Michael’s College presents Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal speaking on “The Ownership Society”. Moore was founder and president, 1999-2004, of the Club for Growth, a 25,000-member organization dedicated to helping elect free market, tax cutting candidates to Congress. The group raised nearly $22 million for Republican Congressional and Senate candidates in 2003-04. A commentator for Fox TV, Moore has been a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, publishing on Federal budget and tax policy. He is the architect of the flat tax proposed by Dick Armey of Texas. He is the author of four books, including most recently Bullish on Bush: How the Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger. Where: Saint Michael’s College, International Commons building. Costs: Free. More Information: Call 802-654-2536.

  • October 24th 2005, 7PM
    Burlington City Council Meeting
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium. The rent control resolutions will be discussed.

  • October 29, 2005
    VTLP Meeting
    Time and location not certain. Contact Scott Berkey at 802-728-6211 for more information.


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Libertarian Humor…

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Quote of the Month…

“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.”

– Ludwig von Mises

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Letters to the editor/ submit an article

For information or to submit news, letters, or articles, contact us .

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Burlington LP News is a publication of the Burlington Libertarian Party, 53 Avenue C, Burlington, VT 05401. All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2005.

Moran Plant, a Historical Landmark?

It was recently announced that the Moran Plant will be considered for historical landmark status. It seems to me that the plan behind this is to make it harder for many of the ideas that the people want for the Moran Plant to happen.

It is very obvious that when asked the majority of people want a public park where the moran plant stands however, Mayor Clavelle and CEDO obviously still want their YMCA deal to go through or something similar. I still hear people pushing for it. This is a way to get it back on the ballot.

I remember when we were asked for suggestions, the comment card itself said that the most popular ideas would not necessarily be the ones put on the ballot. This sent an obvious signal that the board and the mayor will be choosing the choices we vote on. Hopefully, they do not intend to put the YMCA and then list a bunch of unpopular choices so that the YMCA becomes the most logical choice and pushing for the moran plant to be declared a historical landmark would make it that much easier for them.

Jan 3, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, City Hall. City Council meeting. On the agenda is a discussion of city sales tax and Moran Plant/ YMCA discussion (view project discussion) regarding March vote, so far.

Meeting Minutes

(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

Jan 18, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, City Hall. On the agenda is a discussion of Instant Runoff Voting, BHS Athletic Complex, city’s 1% sales tax, Moran Plant/ YMCA discussion (view project discussion) regarding March vote, so far.

Meeting Minutes

(Next Meeting February 7th)

*Councilors missing: Cheryl McDonough, Ward 2 and Jean O’Sullivan, Ward 7

General City Affairs:


  • Councilor Curley moves #19-23 to be removed from the agenda because of the time constraints
  • Councilor Keogh mentions something about a City councilor polo shirt design?
  • Mayor Clavelle: was in D.C. over the Martin Luther King weekend:

    • Community Development block grant program funds may be cut back
    • Greater Burlington may be forming a grassroots relationship with the Tsunami affected areas

Committee Reports:


  • Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization: Meeting Jan 19th covering vehicular noise and possibly University place
  • Ordinance: Zoning committee isn’t prepared for their work; Smoking ban; outsourcing of jobs

Public Hearing:


  • Instant Runoff Voting:

    • Terry (Blue Ribbon commission)- a waste of money (ie French election); suggests 2 changes to the charter language: -more than 2 candidates for the write in option -shorter language
      (if there is no majority winner, then the votes will be retabulated)
    • Michael McGargin: voters should be allowed to discuss the items more, and it the Iraq resolution has been discussed more than the IRV has, the public is not informed

  • Sales Tax

    • Nancy Wood (Burlington Business Association) they have no official position board meeting on the sales tax; what does the tax mean to the retailers? retailers paying 120% and bars paying the gross tax rate already; what is the hope for the future of Burlington? If Winooski and other surrounding cities had a similar tax, it would help to lessen the proposed tax burden
    • Dawn Francis (LC Chamber) they still need to review the tax in order to make a decision
    • Alan Sousie – any tax is a burden; increase of property and school tax upcoming should include the property tax relief with the wording of the ballot item; the older population of Burlington is on the rise, how would it affect them? State all the detailes and as clearly as possible
    • Vincent Downing – paying enough taxes as it is already

  • Increase in Borrowing authority for the City and Burlington Electric

    • City and the Electric Department issue has no public comments

Action on the Public Hearing:


  • IRV:

    • Councilor Shannon: This was intended to elect persons that people want in office, perhaps sample ballots would help the confusion
    • Councilor Blais: Still confused about how the IRV works (was explained over 5 minutes)
    • Councilor Bushor: Voters should understand how it works; would like the question to be shorter

  • Sales tax:

    • Bushor: How would the money generated from the tax be used if passed? (Would support the measure because most of the sales are from non-residents)

      • It would be applied toward property tax relief

  • Parks and Recreation funding:

    • Gosse court armory revitalization in the upcoming weeks for the New North End Youth center and Leddy Park redevelopments

    *Mayor Clavelle: City will have paid the debt off by 2007


Presentations by Burlington School Department:


  • Superintendent Lyman Amsden regarding School Department Budget
  • Burlington High School Steering Committee regarding Athletic Facility plan

Public Comment on School Items:


  • Joe Delaney (President of the BHS Boosters) -comprised of 15-20 parents, but over 100 contribute to the organization; Contributed $20,000 for the systems at Leddy Park, but this year only have a budget of $30,000
  • Michael McGargin: poor wording of the current question on the ballot item; 85% of the budget is set for the staff; school board also increased the tax for capital improvements without letting the city know
  • Dennis (Director of Youth and Community Empowerment) new organization in Burlington, supports the complex

Public Comment on Moran and Iraq ballot items:


  • Maurice Mahoney: Council members should exclude themselves from the vote if they are members of the YMCA; let the city decide whether or not the YMCA should be there
  • Burlington Anti-war Coalition members: Voters haven’t had a say in the war, let their voices be heard

Items of interest not discussed thoroughly by Council:

**In the proposed amendments to the agenda made by Lori Olberg, Administrative Assistant, consent agenda item #25.12 RESOLUTION: Authorization for Water Tower/Land Lease Agreement (Board of Finance) with the consent action to “waive the reading and adopt the resolution.” (per City Attorney McNeil)

**Ward Three Clerk, Jason Baker, Ward One Inspector of Election, Jessica Oski, and Ward Five School Commissioner, Marissa Caldwell, are all resigning

Meeting Adjourned 11 PM

Feb 3, 2005 – YMCA/Moran Public Forum

6:30PM, Burlington College Community Room – Town Meeting: Keep the waterfront public Public dialog about the March ballot items proposing sale of the Moran Plant for $1

Meeting Called to order by Tim Ashe – Waterfront Committee

Opening statements:

-Maurice Mahoney, Let the People Decide
-Public Trust Doctrine: worked with Fmr. Governor Dean, Rick Sharp, and Sandy Barre on the plan for the Bikepath
-If the proposal goes through, it will not be a park any longer
-The issue became a lot more active in Sept. 2004
-If plan goes through Depot St. it might cause more development there

-Mayor Clavelle
-Thanks the Let the People Decide group for holding the Public Forum, and having a different view
-City has been trying to get different projects there at Moran
-The YMCA will provide indoor recreation facilities for the community by being there

-Sandy Barre, Let the People Decide
-The people of Vermont own the land, not the
-Trustees of the land mentioned are the Vermont Legislature
-Opposes the plan because it does not fit the Public Trust Doctrine and the lease is not a partnership
-The YMCA will never pay taxes on the Moran property because it is a non-profit organization

-Tim Rollings, YMCA President/CEO
-The current YMCA facility at College St will give an estimated over $100,000 per year in taxes (if it falls into private hands)

Public Forum:

-Steve Boyman (lives on Lake St.): There has been no collaboration with the citizens, parking at the Moran is managed by the City

-Teresa Lefevebre (Ward 7 Ferringtons MHP): When she was a child, she basically lived at North Beach, would like the Waterfront maintained for the future generations; the YMCA’s a private entity, and will cost the taxpayers, How is it worded on the ballot? What are the forms of payment made back to the city? (Swim lessons to 4th graders, etc)

-Tonya Boudwin (Bank St.): Concerned the taxes will increase as a result of the YMCA moving there
(Clavelle: taxes will not be used to pay for infrastructure, state will help with the money); Sandy Barre asked Councilor Bushor the same question, and the response: “it will come from taxes”

-Diane Garron (Attended all the YMCA Public Forums): City still owes money on the Moran Plant, currently paying $58,000 per year; not everyone in Burlington will join the YMCA; Poses question to Clavelle: If the property was yours, would you participate in this lease? [Clavelle: I would do it for the City] [Clavelle: If it was his, he would not go through with the deal] To which Diane responded, So why are you doing it to the City then? [Clavelle: No response]

-Paul Buvair: Would like to see the YMCA completely open to the public; the YMCA’s gross is currently over $6 Million, contribution to the city would be 5% of the gross income

-Louise Andrews: The parks of Burlington are precious to the residents and feels like something is being given away for nothing

-Robert Bosseire (Running for City Council, Ward 2): Is the YMCA a community program? [Rollings: everyone is welcome, ie the daycare prgm]; Why is the lease set at 99 years? YMCA has to reais $10 Million based on ECHO

-Ian (Burlington Resident, running against Clavelle for Mayor): Supports the wording from LtPD, would like to have the city have a word in what goes into Moran

-Brian O’Neil: (Colchester resident & former employee of Moran) Land at Moran is contaminated

Feb 10, 2005 – YMCA/Moran Public Forum

7PM, J.J. Flynn Elementary School Gymnasium – Town Meeting: Keep the waterfront public

Meeting Called to order at 7:10PM – Delay because of snowfall
**Students from Rockpoint school in attendance observing (about 20 of them)

Opening Statements:

-Kurt Wright, Chittenden Rep. District 3-1 and Let the People Decide
Is the YMCA the best deal for the city?

-Scott Johnstone, YMCA Project Manager and Ward 4 Resident
Infrastructure needs of the city? the existing structure at Moran is not being used

-Maurice Mahoney, (previous 2 term councilor, a Justice of the Peace, and a teacher in Burlington)
YMCA has been in the red for 5 of the past 7 years; Scott verified everything on the fact sheet is correct

-Ken, Representing City of Burlington
It will mostly be paid by private fundraising; not providing it for tourists, but public; the bike path will be improved with infrastructure; council has yet to approve the agreement; YMCA still has to prove that it can be there for for the city

Public Forum:

-Steve Cherelli (Ward 7): Burlingotn taxpayers would be paying for the out of town members; how are the services value determined and will the YMCA proceed even it is voted down?
[Scott: it appears from their public forums that most Burlington residents do not want the YMCA]

-Sandy Barre: No exact answer from the mayor about what is in the YMCA for the citizens of Burlington

-Dale King: What are the most important environmental steps?
[Scott/Ken: The Moran is a brownfield redevelopment area, and the studies will be done after vote]

-Steve: What about better uses for the Moran site? What are the exact number of members from Burlington? and what if the YMCA would instead move to the KMart location on Shelburne Rd?
[Maurice: 3-4% of Burlington residents are members]
[Scott: Facilities are also used by non members of Burlington as well; the KMart site is not up for sale, and the owner of the site doesn’t want to sell]
[Kurt: They should have contingencies if the vote is not in the YMCA’s favor]

-Jeff Comstock (Ward 7): There should be a city parks and recreation facility there instead of the YMCA; Parks and recreation shoul be more active in the forums, and have a stronger voice

-Louise Andrews (Ward 4): Whole will own the Sailing center building? and will there be any taxes from the YMCA being at Moran?; those who do not have a backyard like her, greatly cherish the parks and waterfront Burlington currently has, and is not happy that there had to be a fight to get the referendum on the ballot
[Ken: The YMCA and LCSC would own the building, and they are both non-profit, so no tax revenue would come from the building]

-Ken Wolvington: Moran is an eyesore, so we should vote yes to not let it stay there another 20 years, most of the members at the YMCA now are blue collar, it would not be taking over the lake

-John (Ward 4 an YMCA employee): citizens should take the risk with the YMCA

-Brian O’Neil: (Colchester res. & former employee of Moran) Land at Moran is contaminated and there was no cleanup from the transformer dumps that took place there; when the lake levels rise, Moran will be flooded; there are Burlington Electric generators right next door to Moran, and they are very loud;
[Nick (CEDO): phase 2 ESA studies will be done soon, and those are paid an EPA grant]

-Beth (Aerobics instructor): disabled husband currently uses another gym because current YMCA isn’t ADA compliant

-Clif Cooper (ward 4): 100 years ago, pictures show there were old barges at Moran waterfront, with no open spaces there; a 30 year lease would be more logical, and appropriate; more clubs in Burlington, leading to more privitization of areas; The city is already in debt, and will pay an additional $3 Million for the infrastructure; did the City ask for other proposals besides the YMCA?

-Monica Forte (Rockpoint school student): How is a non-profit paying for the lease?

-Jen Ornsby (Rockpoint sch. student): Would a no vote stop the YMCA from going to Moran?

Meeting adjourned at 9PM

Moran Redevelopment Public Forum

December 15th 2004
Contois Auditorium – 5PM-7PM

  • Listing of comments made by those wishing to speak to the YMCA board members and the council
    (Most of whom were in the audience) Ian Carlton presided over the forum.
  • Moran is too ugly, the project is moving too fast, there could be problems with traffic; what is the seasonal potential of the property; 99 year lease is too long; city should instead convert it or tear down the building and make a pavillion of the area, and have the sailing center moved to the King St. docking area.
  • Place the project on the ballot in march as there are no clear figures on how the YMCA will raise the money.
  • Councilors saying they discussed the circus issue more than they have the Moran project, so it should appear on the ballot in March; concerns about the structural integrity of the building; feels there is nothing wrong with the YMCA as an organization; also some councilors are not in favor of placing the project on the ballot, they feel that the councilors who feel that way may think that they are smarter than the citizens of Burlington, or that the citizens are ‘stupid’, or that they take their job as councilors as making the decisions for their constituents alone.
  • Mother of a 4yr old disabled child currently has extreme difficulties just getting to use the pool to be with his friends because of the current layout of the YMCA on college street and also uses the childcare facilities, the new location would be handicapped accessable and double the childcare facilities.
  • Moran building is not safe as it currently is, the project would enhance the use of the Moran building, as there is not enough Waterfront access
  • YMCA give Burlington a community sense, it will enhance Moran building, and this city council vote is only the first step of a long process of the project
  • Tim Watson of Colchester (current YMCA member) The current YMCA facilities are not up to par with other fitness centers in the area, but the employees and volunteers of the YMCA are superior; the people who have mentioned the traffic problem are just “narrow-minded, afraid, and selfish”
  • Steve Allen (Burlington Parks & Rec. and YMCA member) Burlington needs more recreational facilities and the issues should be determined later
  • Peter Dartman (Non-burlington resident, Y board member & potential donor) Burlington residents, city goverment, YMCA, and donors must be in agreement about the project; discounts will be offered to Burlington residents; moran building has been branded as a controversial project
  • If the Y is threatening to leave Burlington, why should we approve their proposal; The YMCA should have more of a community centered base, ie setting up smaller centers in different areas of the city
  • Larry (Family Y membership & doesn’t want a city vote) works out at the YMCA & then picks up his kids there afterward, would like the YMCA to stay in Burlington; the rebuilding of Lake street is already stressing enough, and is there a cost to the taxpayers?
  • Jim (Ward 4 community gardener) would like to see the YMCA adapt more greenspace for their project, ie community gardens as there isn’t enough space for the existing ones at the moment
  • The YMCA in Moran would make the waterfront more active all year round, and the city council vote is only the first step in a long process
  • Andy (from Charlotte, Pres. of Housing VT) Thinks the estimate of cost is too low
  • Fred Hill: Unsure what the council’s vote will do for the project; the YMCA isn’t for public benefit; a 99year lease is not right for only $100; also feels process is moving too fast
  • David Zuckerman: NPA’s were discussing the project earlier this summer; his understanding is that there will be no tax increases fromt he project
  • Martha: would like a delay on the council vote in order for more ideas about the property, such as senior housing
  • Jean O’Sullivan (Councilor ward 7) Shuttle services and others are being addrssed in committees; by having the Y at Moran it would make the waterfront safer in winter; there will be no public funds used; city is currently paying $58,000 per year to pay off the $525,000 debt
  • Donna (Y member) the congestion of traffic is still not being addressed by the shuttles, would cancel her membership if the YMCA moved to Moran, as she would not take a shuttle herself
  • Alan Sousie (ward 7 not a YMCA member) Hopes project isn’t moving too fast; the southern connector is still scheduled to go forward, leading to more traffic on battery street, making more traffic concerns aside from the Y; the YMCA should give the city the cost of the debt, as well as the cost to demolish the building; feels that the project will cost more than $10 million; will not be a Y member, and feels that the building should give others who are not members access to the building
  • Joan: everyone in Burlington will use the new YMCA, not just members of the YMCA

Forum adjourned 6:57PM by Ian Carlton
(Still several that wanted to speak, but did not have the chance to)

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)