Citys Moran Plan on March Ballot
On January 22, the City Council voted to place the Citys proposal for the reuse and redevelopment of the Moran Electric Generating Plant on the March Town Meeting Day ballot for an advisory vote. A yes vote will allow the City and the proposed tenants of a renewed Moran building and site to move forward with plans to create a multi-use, year-round facility relying on significant private and non-profit investment. This includes a public ice-skating rink, summer spray park, enhancements to the bike path and building site, parking improvements, a new and expanded skateboard park, restaurant and caf_Ice Factor Internationals rock and ice-climbing wall, the Green Mountain Childrens Museum and an enhanced Champlain Sailing Center. This plan maintains an existing historical building as a vital city asset. The redevelopment plan assumes green design features to address environmental issues. A renewed Moran Center will be an all season facility that brings people to Burlingtons Waterfront and downtown for pleasure and adventure. It will also be a significant economic resource at the site and, by ripple effect, throughout the community. Its important to understand that a yes vote does not commit public funding to the project that will impact residents tax rates. If public funding is needed through a general obligation bond, this will require a second vote by the people of Burlington. The Moran Center plan offers the people of Burlington substantial benefits through its multi-use approach and public/private partnership. Like many other decommissioned power plants in the U.S. and around the world, the reuse of Moran is a significant opportunity with great promise. For more information about the Moran Center at Waterfront Park check the City website at
. Bed Bond Vote
Voters will also have the opportunity on Town Meeting Day to approve a $39,600,000 bond sale for several important and very beneficial Burlington Electric Department projects. The bond sale would finance capital improvements to the electric plant, including capital improvements to reduce emissions at the McNeil Generating Station, investment in VELCO projects (through Vermont Transco, LLC), capital upgrades and improvements to BEDs distribution and sub-transmission system and substations, the underground placement of electric lines in or around the Citys waterfront, and investment in renewable energy projects. I support a yes vote on this bond sale. It will improve the reliability of our electric system, help stabilize electric rates for residents, enhance Burlingtons Waterfront, reduce emissions that harm our environment, and increase the Citys use of green power sources. The bond obligation will be paid from electric system revenue, and the projects funded will reduce BED costs and provide a substantial return on investment to ratepayers. It will not impact electric rates or the property tax rate - an extremely positive outcome for the City. And, its important that this proposal looks towards the future of electric power and in the years ahead will help the City maintain one of the best municipal electric services in the country. New Police Chief Appointee: Deputy Chief Mike Schirling
After a process which involved three interview panels with representation from the police department, police employee unions, police commissioners, several community groups, and residents, I have offered Deputy Chief Michael Schirling the position of Burlingtons next Police Chief. The City Council will vote on his appointment at their February 4 meeting. Interviews commenced on Wednesday January 16, and out of that Mike was recommended for a second interview conducted on January 22. Mike was unanimously recommended by the January 22 interview panel. He is a lifelong Burlington resident with strong experience and proven abilities with the Burlington Police Department. Im pleased to have the opportunity to offer him the Chiefs position. New Border Crossing Requirements
As of Jan. 31, 2008, if traveling without a passport, all adult travelers will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and proof of identity, such as a drivers license, when entering the United States through land and sea ports of entry. Children ages 18 and under will be required to present proof of citizenship. Oral declarations of citizenship alone will no longer be accepted. The added burden of proof of citizenship plus identity to cross the US/ Canadian border is certain to decrease the casual crossing of the border at the expense of both countries. In time, more people will get US and Canadian passports and other approved cross-border crossing IDs but only after additional effort and expense. In the meantime--after January 31st--fewer people will cross the border--none casually, because most people do not carry the right combination of proof to satisfy both requirements. This is cause for concern for its impact on economic activity and the simple ability of Vermonters to cross into Canada (and vice-versa). Im hopeful we can move to a better system that will adequately protect our borders but not overly restrict the flow of people and goods.