Burlington Passes Gun Measures, School Budget Fails

Published 03/04 2014 11:52PM

Updated 03/05 2014 12:16AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - People in Burlington sent a clear message that they are in favor of tougher gun control measures.

They easily passed three gun-related charter changes. It could set a new precedent for Vermont.

Here are preliminary, unofficial results:

  • Question 6: Charter Change (seizure of weapons during domestic abuse): 5579 (yes); 2066 (no)

  • Question 7: Charter Change (ban of firearms in liquor establishments): 5194 (yes); 2517 (no)

  • Question 8: Charter Change (safe storage of firearms): 4351 (yes); 2971 (no)

"I don't know who would vote against not taking a gun away from a domestic abuse situation. Also I don't have a problem with guns being locked up when they're not in someone's possession. If a kid were to come across them or someone else who came across a gun that was unlocked it could cause a threat to the community," says Kimberly Larkin, a Burlington voter.

The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs spent $15,000 on a campaign against the changes. On the other side, Gun Sense Vermont spent only $1,000 on flyers and signs.

Both sides said this vote could have statewide implications and that other towns and the state might consider more gun control measures.

Gun rights supporters say after this vote the fight now heads to the statehouse.

That's because the city charter changes still need the okay of the legislature and the measures could face a tough fight there.

There was also a big surprise as the first time in more than a decade, people have voted down the school budget.

School Budget Vote: 3424 (yes); 4118 (no)

Burlington School District Superintendent Jeanne Collins and School Board Chair Alan Matson both say they are disappointed about the school department's proposed $66-million 2015 fiscal year budget failing at the polls.

Now, that was to go towards current expenses and a shortfall in pension funds. Matson says they will have to go back to the drawing board, and that could mean some sacrifices.

"There's only so much room that you can cut out of a budget outside of the classroom or outside of a classroom, or programs, but some of the initiatives we are taking on and some of things that we do that aren't necessarily mandated will have to be looked at. That's a very wide range of items," says Matson.

Collins says they need to have a budget in place by the end of June, otherwise they have to revert to the current spending level, and a couple million will need to be cut somewhere, and that could mean programs and even teachers.

Other Burlington Results:

  • Ward 1: Selene Colburn (P) (554); write-ins 34
  • Ward 2: Ryan Emerson (D) 97; Max Tracy (P) 478; write-ins 6 
    *please note, Ryan Emerson dropped-out of this race prior to Town Meeting Day*

  • Ward 3: Ronald Ruloff (I) 157; Rachel Siegel (P) 560; write-ins 15

  • Ward 4: Carol Ode (D) 709; Loyal Ploof (L) 26; Kurt Wright (R) 1089; write-ins 8

  • Ward 5: William "Chip" Mason (D) 1081, write-ins 37

  • Ward 6: Karen Paul (D) 

  • Ward 7: Bianka Legrand (D) 768; Tom Treat (R) 682; write-ins 5

  • Question 2: Improvements within Waterfront TIF: 5366 (yes); 2317 (no)

  • Question 3: Increase Tax Rate: 3957 (yes); 3580 (no)

  • Question 4: Bond to purchase Winooski Hydro Plant: 5945 (yes); 1498 (no)

  • Question 5: Charter Change (ward redistricting): 4419 (yes); 2742 (no)

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