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Burlington Voters to Tackle Guns, Taxes and Debt

Burlington City Council approves sending issues to voters on tax increases, waterfront redevelopment and gun laws.
BURLINGTON - It was a tale of two meetings at Contois Auditorium in Burlington Monday night as gun rights advocates degraded city councilors about firearm measures but little was said on issues of tax increases and authorizing debt.

Gun Laws

Vermonters from all over packed the city council meeting for the first hour to voice their displeasure with three firearm measures the city council approved in 2013.

- Banning firearms in establishments with liquor licenses.

- Requiring guns to be locked or stored.

- Allowing police confiscation of a firearm from someone suspected of domestic violence.

Few spoke out in favor of the measures but in previous public hearings gun rights advocates have also dwarfed any support of the gun laws.

To go into affect the measures would have to be approved by voters and then by the state legislature.

Taxes

After the public hearing the auditorium mostly emptied out and councilors got to the discussion of financial issues.

Councilor Karen Paul introduced a proposed $0.0225 increase in general taxes to help pay for city services, infrastructure upgrades and staffing demands.

The council noted it was the first broad based tax increase in the city in over ten years.

Councilors voted unanimously in favor of sending the tax increase question to voters on Town Meeting Day.

Waterfront Financing

Councilors also voted to put the Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP) for the Waterfront TIF District on the ballot.

PIAP was a year long process to develop a project to revitalize the waterfront area. It includes re-purposing the Moran Plant, upgrades to the Burlington Harbor Marina and Waterfront Park among other initiatives.

The ballot question to voters is whether to approve the city incurring up to $9.6 million in debt for the projects. It also allows for the Moran building to be torn down if the project doesn't work out.
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