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City Council Agenda 09.15.08
Monday, September 15, 2008
Here's an MS Word .doc of Monday's City Council Agenda and its amendments.

Highlights include...

*A charter change and tax increase for the Parks and Recreation Department. (Possibly part of Jonathon Leopold's push to combine Parks and Public Works.) Hey, whatever happened to that guy Adam Cate who was suspended from Parks with pay a while back? Anybody know?

*A $92 million dollar School Department ballot item. (Hmmm. Better than $226 million over 10 years, but $92 million over five years is still staggering. It just sounds like a lot less, because of the shrunken time line.) I think the March ballot would still be fine. Why rush to vote on this in November?

*Authorization of a 25-cent surcharge on taxi rides.

*A charter change and creation of a Burlington Telecom Department and Commission.

*A discussion of the Green Mountain Children's Museum. I'm for this. My kids need more cool stuff to do.

*A "How's it going Ward Clerks?" resolution when everybody knows how it's going (poorly since the "Ben Pacy Amateur Hour" began in the Clerk's office).

*(A Resolution to urge Vermont toward gay marriage was originally on the agenda, but has been withdrawn.)

It seems like a rich agenda. I'm going to try be there tonight. No guarantees though. As with everything, it will depend on the state of things with Poopsie, Koko and Yanna. I love my city, but I love my family more, of course.

Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:36 AM  
9 Comments:
  • At September 15, 2008 1:15 PM, Anonymous Charity said…

    Good to have you back, Haik.

     
  • At September 15, 2008 1:50 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Thanks Charity. Nice to be back!

     
  • At September 15, 2008 2:30 PM, Anonymous jonas said…

    You didn't see the latest on Adam Cate? Five week investigation = nothing. They even grabbed come computers to check out. The city has been remarkably obtuse about what the problem really is. Some of the reports talk about 'financial issues' (ie, he stole money), or personnel issues (something about improper email usage). Either way, the city has come off looking rather shady and Winooskiesque.

    He's supposed to be back on the job soon, if not now.

    Pretty horseshit, all around. No one from the city has come out looking or sounding competent in this. I have a hard time believing anything serious enough to warrant an investigation is a gotta be close to be close to a, if not definitely a fireable offense. It take 5 months to figure that out?

    Dumb.

    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008809140309

     
  • At September 15, 2008 2:50 PM, Blogger istech said…

    Good to see ya again:) Why did you take the entire site down though?

     
  • At September 15, 2008 3:20 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Why did you take the entire site down though?

    I dunno. Felt like it. I refer you to my disclaimer, specically the following clause...

    "This blog can disappear at any time for any amount of time."

    Thanks for not forgetting about me Stech.

    *****

    And thank you Jonas for that interesting take on the Adam Cate thing. It does make one wonder what the heck is going on.

    Maybe we will find out more from tonight's city council meeting.

     
  • At September 15, 2008 8:32 PM, Anonymous jonas said…

    Yeah, I Kurt and others have been fairly vocal about their displeasure with how it's all been handled...or, not as the case appears to be. Now, God forbid something really serious was going on, I'll take back the skepticism. But, given WinooskiGate, you'd think Burlington would have learned that a little transparency can go along way towards a little public goodwill.

    Definitely let us know.

    Oh, and glad to have you back. One of my few reliable sources for keeping an eye on home.

     
  • At September 16, 2008 10:57 PM, Blogger JayV said…

    It was good to see you last night at the meeting. I left around 8:30. The council was still at #10 when I left and no tellin' when they were gonna get to the resolution regarding the 2nd 2008 ballot debacle, so I left. :(

     
  • At September 17, 2008 4:18 PM, Blogger OwenM said…

    Well the city council has put the Kiss administration on notice...

    Moran Plant Mess

     
  • At September 17, 2008 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    City Council tables Moran deal
    By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer • September 17, 2008

    The Burlington City Council put the administration of Mayor Bob Kiss on notice Monday that it wants a better understanding of the financial commitments the city is making on the redevelopment of the Moran plant.

    By a 10-4 vote, the council’s Democrats, Republicans and independent Ward 6 Councilor Karen Paul tabled an initial development agreement with the Green Mountain Children’s Museum. Three Progressives and independent Sharon Bushor supported the administration.

    Bushor said Tuesday that her vote reflected her desire to hear more before ending the discussion.The vote means the agreement cannot be discussed, said Larry Kupferman, director of the Community and Economic Development Office. The agreement is known as a memorandum of understanding.


    Some councilors say the vote reflects a lack of council trust in the administration. The council had previously accepted an initial agreement with the Community Sailing Center, but councilors have worried about what one called the silence from the final city partner in the Moran plant project, the for-profit company Ice Factor.

    Voters in March overwhelmingly approved a proposal by Kiss to redevelop the decommissioned Moran power plant. The plant, except for the Community Sailing Center, has been vacant for years.

    The Kiss plan calls for city ownership of the remodeled building — in an expanded Waterfront Park — with Ice Factor, the Sailing Center and the Children’s Museum as partners on long-term leases. Over the summer, the city has negotiated initial agreements with the two nonprofits but has not reached an understanding with Ice Factor.

    “The house of cards falls if Ice Factor pulls out,” said Bill Keogh, D-Ward 5, the sole councilor who has consistently opposed the plan. “Where is Ice Factor’s money? Where is their commitment? We should be getting that commitment before we spend more staff time on this issue.”

    He said of city negotiations to this point: “We’re on an administrative treadmill with this thing.”

    Kupferman said discussions with Ice Factor have been good, and added: “We’re actually very close” to an agreement.

    In the initial Sailing Center agreement, the Sailing Center agreed to pay at a later date its share of pre-development architectural and engineering costs of about $150,000, regardless of whether construction ultimately begins. The Children’s Museum agreement, however, didn’t contain that guarantee, and the museum’s share of the architecture and engineering costs would fall back on the city if the project fails.

    “I think there’s a little ... a lack of confidence,” Dave Berezniak, D-Ward 2, said of the council vote. “The documents and agreements we’ve been getting from the administration don’t indicate they’re looking out for the best interests of the city, but at the project itself. They’re focusing on getting that project up and running.”

    Ward 1 Democrat Ed Adrian said his vote to table seemed “a reasonably prudent thing to do, in light of the complexity (of the Moran project) and the lack of progress to date.”

    He said a broader context was relevant: “I think the administration is composed of a very small group of individuals who share a similar ideology,” he said.

    The Progressives, so long in power, have become “insular and so unwilling to listen to any ideas that question their own, that they are plodding ahead, in some instances, with blinders on,” Adrian said.

    He and other councilors said Paul, chairwoman of the council’s Parks Committee, had an understanding with the city attorney that the city would use outside legal help to examine the initial agreements. After the administration reneged, Paul exchanged e-mails with other councilors over the weekend urging a tabling — an indefinite postponement — of the agreement with the museum until the administration agreed to an outside counsel. Her perspective was persuasive to nine of her colleagues.

    “I have told the city attorney I will not put my name on an agreement that has not been seen by an outside attorney with years of experience in this field,” Paul said Tuesday. “Our potential tenants are getting this kind of advice. Why shouldn’t we?”

    Kupferman, who agreed the council vote Monday was important, said, “It seems to me folks might want to know what the reasoning is. Outside counsel has not been part of our thinking. Nor has it been brought up by anyone else, until last night.”

    “The administration is there with its perception,” Keogh said, “but perhaps we need someone who is outside of city government who can take a look at this. There are many councilors, including me, who are questioning the credibility of the administration.

    “I think the relations between the council and the administration are the most strained I’ve seen in my 13 years on the council.”

    Kupferman responded to Berezniak’s concern about the administration’s acting in the city’s best interests: “The best interests of the city mean having that site developed to provide jobs and activity in that part of the Waterfront,” he said. “We will not make terms that are bad for the city.”

    Contact John Briggs at 660-1863 or jbriggs@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com.

     
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