Burlington Free Press - Burlington voters have authorized the city to borrow up to $9.6 million for a major overhaul of the Lake Champlain waterfront, and changes could begin showing up as early as this fall.
Ballot Items Lead Conversation with Mayor Weinberger
Burlington’s Town Meeting day asked voters to weigh-in on 8 ballot items. That’s a full plate. In my February meeting with Mayor Weinberger we talked about which ballots items were important to the business community and why.
As you know, all ballot items except for the School Budget passed yesterday. Of these, which have the ability to impact Burlington’s economic vitality and the work BBA does. Here’s a summary of my views as shared with Mayor Weinberger.
The new proposal would better assure the timely completion of the project, Chris Cole, the agency’s director of policy, planning and intermodal development, told the Burlington Free Press on Wednesday.
The bill would provide one hour of paid sick leave for each 30-hour work week (maximum of 56 hours/year) at businesses of all sizes in Vermont. According to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, mandatory paid sick leave is projected to increase the cost of doing business by 2.5%, resulting in difficult decisions for employers in regards to both current and future employee wages and benefits.
The BBA is looking to reform its Downtown Action Group (DAG) with a 2014 focus on downtown safety and security. We hope to recruit a half dozen representatives from our members who will meet at least monthly to focus on what action the business community could take to improve safety and security conditions in the downtown.
City Council approval is the last step needed to remove parking requirements from downtown buildings – both new and existing: this following a January 9 vote in favor from the City Council’s Ordinance Committee.
This week Mayor Weinberger announced a $10.5 million settlement to the Citibank lawsuit against Burlington Telecom. This agreement bodes well for Burlington’s credit rating with organizations such as Moody’s Investors Services. It allows Mayor Weinberger to continue to address the economic health of the city: a key issue for the BBA.
In January, some of you may have heard or read about the issue of unfunded pension liability in a presentation by David Coates formerly of KMPG. This issue’s impact on the State of Vermont is over $1 billion and in Burlington the amount is more than $50 million. Those are big numbers for a small state.
Burlington Free Press - A group of Vermont lawmakers is calling for a new “bill of economic rights,” including a significantly higher minimum wage, guaranteed paid sick days and a requirement that employers have just cause before firing anyone.
Burlington Free Press - The Queen City is not yet off the hook, but prospects abound for a whole lot more slack in handling its misadventures with Burlington Telecom. That’s the generally upbeat consensus that persisted in the aftermath of Burlington’s announcement that a settlement was in the works in Citibank’s $33.5M lawsuit against BT.
“Burlington Telecom has been something of an anchor,” she said after the news conference. “The main benefit of this agreement is that it offers a way to keep the asset. The fiber-optic cable stays in the ground,” Devine said.
The BBA welcomed Jeffrey Tumlin, owner and principal of the transportation planning and engineering firm Nelson\Nygaard out of San Francisco, to its Downtown Parking Summit this month as the event's keynote speaker. A vibrant speaker, Tumlin is a transportation planner specializing in the sustainable development of transit-oriented master plans wirth experience in cities such as Portland, Seattle, Denver and Vancouver. He delivered a dynamic presentation of ways in which our city can both improve and sustain a better parking system.
Click the photo to view Jeff Tumlin’s presentation