The State of Vermont has over $1billion in current liability for both pensions and healthcare coverage for pensions. The City of Burlington’s liability is more than $60 million. Both liability burdens are roughly equal to annual budgets for both the state and city.
At its July 30th Breakfast with the Board event, members of the Burlington Business Association met to discuss unfunded pension liabilities.
How will this affect the City of Burlington and it’s business owners?
Mayor Miro Weinberger said last fall at the “summit” the problem threatens the heart of the city’s success.
“In 2000 city tax payers contributed about $43,000 toward the retirement of city employees. In a little more than a decade public contributions exceeded $7.5 million – almost 175 times the cost in 2000. And still the pension is underfunded by $58 million, and the amount is growing, even though the city has met its contribution goals almost every year,” writes Hilary Niles in a VT Digger article, Burlington Struggles with Underfunded Pension.
What does this mean for the Burlington Business Association?
As advocates for business owners in the City of Burlington (and beyond), the BBA recognizes that failure to address the pension crisis will impact the city’s fiscal health. Here is the feedback we gathered from Wednesday’s Breakfast with the Board:
We cannot keep promising to pay, without having the funds to do so. Jane Knodell said, “we cannot keep doing this – there needs to be public outcry.”
“Someone needs to take the lead.” Said Pat Burns of City Market.
Leslie McKenzie suggested the need for transparency. “We don’t have the knowledge as voters. We need to encourage more people to be part of the conversation.”
The BBA is evaluating whether and how to take a lead on moving this conversation forward and reaching solutions. Let us know your thoughts. The BBA wants to hear how we can help you to better understand and learn of the City’s pension crisis. E-mail Kelly Devine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know SKIRACK is Burlington's largest outdoor sports equipment store? While they have been a BBA member since 2002, they've been rooted in BTV since 1969! As Burlington has been termed "one of the most livable cities in America," it only makes sense that SKIRACK has become an ever-present establishment in BTV's retail scene. Stop by August 20-25 for SKIRACK's annual "Winter Summer Sale!"
It has been an exciting month for Burlington. Plenty of forward movement on key projects for the BBA and its members. In addition to our work on parking, waterfront development and unfunded pension liability, the BBA has worked to move the following forward this month.
The Burlington Business Association is moving parking forward. This fall our parking reform plan will take a big step forward. Our partners at the Burlington Department of Public Works have placed an order for 310 smart parking meters for our downtown. Those meters will also see a rate increase from $1 to $1.5 per hour. And you can park at them for as long as you’d like.
The fun continues after the Burlington Business Association’s annual dinner. Mary Kehoe was able to take advantage of one of the many incredible auction items this year; the Chef-to-Table Dinner! Master Chef Herve Mahe of the Hilton Burlington created a four-course, fine dining experience for the auction winner and her guests and was kind enough to share the experience with us.
Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that the City of Burlington will implement several changes to the downtown parking system to both improve the customer experience and to ensure the City has a sustainable plan for maintaining the parking system and infrastructure in the downtown.
In the next twelve months you’ll see new parking, improvements to the Bike Path, and fewer power lines on the Burlington Waterfront. The Burlington Business Association checked in with Assistant Director of the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), Nate Wildfire, to learn the latest.
Taxes –we call them a certainty. In Burlington the city’s nearly $63million municipal budget is funded 24% by the nearly 650 commercial/industrial properties for a total of over $19 million. In effect, 6% of the properties cover nearly a quarter of the budget.
Missing the old fountain on Church Street? Check out the new water feature at the top block. On Monday June 30th the Church Street Marketplace in collaboration with KeyBank unveiled the Fish Fountain, a new attraction for downtown Burlington.
From bribing with brownies to Beijing, the Carpenters spoke to the Burlington Free Press about Burton's history and it's future. With 20% of Burton's sales coming from bags, backpacks, luggage and apparel, the Burlington-based business is transitioning from a strictly snowboard maker to a lifestyle brand.
The Burlington Business Association awarded Burton with our Business of the Year award at our Annual Dinner in April. Read more about what makes Burton one of Burlington's best in this BFP Innovative article.
Did you know that the Spirit of Ethan Allen is the largest cruise ship on Lake Champlain? It's also one of the largest banquet facilities in Vermont! Last week the BBA and 75+ members kicked off the summer season with a morning cruise aboard the SOEA. But their cruises encompass so much more - lunch, brunch, dinner, murder mysteries, dancing...if you're looking for something to do this summer, don't say we didn't inform you!
At the awards ceremony last night at the Shelburne Museum Pizzagalli Center, Gov. Peter Shulim presented the The Vermont Small Business of the Year award is going to Switchback Brewing Co. of Burlington.
Parking has been the primary concern of many downtown business owners, and considered "frustrating" in the eye of the public, but there is a new emotion around parking in Burlington, and that is one of excitement.
Burlington Free Press - Burlington's quest for economic vitality must include a "foundational" commitment to more (and more affordable) housing for its middle classes, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced today.
Speaking at a media conference at Fletcher Free Library with other advocates of urban life, Weinberger's comments followed the release of a yearlong study that outlines strategies for residential development.
Seven Days - Up until a few days ago, a weather-stained lighthouse sat offshore from Burlington's Oakledge Park. It never had any luminary ability; it was, in other words, a fake. And now it's gone.
If you've traveled a few miles farther north up the Burlington Bike Path, you've likely noticed that the Urban Reserve — the 40-acre stretch of land between the Moran Plant and North Beach also known as the North 40 — resembles a construction site right now, with the requisite Porta-Potties, gravel piles and large equipment.
WPTZ - Burlington announced several new initiatives for the city last Friday.
PlanBTV South End aims to spur along development gain in Burlington's South End. That area of the city has been growing and transforming so fast over the past few years that the city has been racing to keep up.
Pine Street Pedestrian Safety Improvements, Partnership to Achieve National Recognition for Walking and Biking, and planBTV Process for South End
BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine found herself enjoying a morning with Mayor Miro Weinberger while he promoted active transportation options during his 3rd annual Mayor’s Multi-Modal Tour around the City. Folks joined the Mayor to travel around town by foot, bike, bus, electric vehicle, and vanpool.
City of Burlington - Construction begins Monday, May 12 on flood migitation efforts at the intersection of Main St. and S. Winooski Ave. This work is In response to the frequent flooding at that site. The City of Burlington Department of Public Works initiated a flooding mitigation evaluation in late 2013 to determine what work was needed.
“These are healthcare experts who could work anywhere they want, but choose to come here because of the quality of life….Burlington and the state of Vermont have become synonymous with quality of life and healthcare," Brumsted said.