Burlington To Vote On Two Bonds In Special Election

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Voters in Burlington will be asked in a special election on Tuesday whether to approve two bond proposals that city officials say will reduce the pain of more expensive repairs and replacements later.

The first ballot item, if passed, would allow the city to borrow up to $40 million over three years for improved sidewalks, sewer lines, parks, bike lanes and streets as well as repairs to Memorial Auditorium, the Burlington Free Press reported. Some of the money would likely go toward matching state and federal infrastructure grants for projects like the proposed Champlain Parkway spur, the city said on its website.

The other proposal is for a $20 million revenue bond to pay for upgrades to Burlington Electric Department power lines and equipment in response to customers’ shift to renewably generated power.

The bond would be repaid through department revenues.

If approved it will pay for improvements to protect customers from steep rate hikes in the coming decades, said Darren Springer, general manager of the Burlington Electric Department. It would also allow the department to increase cash incentives for energy conservation and subsidies for electric heat pumps, battery-powered cars, bikes, lawn mowers, leaf-blowers and even forklifts.

The BED investments are being promoted as a big part of the city's "Net Zero Energy" goal of eliminating gasoline, diesel for transportation and natural gas for heating by 2030.