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What Local Election Means for Burlington, County

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Producer: 

This episode of Dig This, a visual podcast produced with our media partners RETN and VCAM, takes a look at the local matters that city voters decided on Nov. 8, as well as a few highlights from the Chittenden County legislative races.

Turnout in Vermont exceeded the national average of 58 percent of registered voters, hitting 71 percent. In Chittenden County turnout was 66 percent, but in Burlington turnout was only 55 percent.

That was in an election where voters decided the fate of a transformative redevelopment project in the heart of downtown.

Questions 3 and 4 on the ballot, which were hotly debated by supportive city officials and a grass-roots opposition, created a new downtown zoning district and approved $22 million in tax increment financing.

Both measures were seen as critical to a $220 million overhaul of the current Burlington Town Center mall, and voters approved both on Election Day. Now that project moves into the permit phase, which city officials say could take four to six months.

Voters also approved two infrastructure bonds. One is a $27.5 million general obligation bond that garnered more than the two-thirds majority it needed for passage. The other will make available $8.4 million for water and sewer lines.

In legislative contests, Chittenden County sent two new senators to Montpelier. Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, made the cut with some help from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sent out a fundraising email on Pearson’s behalf. The other new senator is Debbie Ingraham, a Williston Selectboard member and faith leader who had made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2012.

On the House side, City Councilor Selene Colburn, P-East District, won a seat in the Legislature. It remains to be seen if she will run to hold onto her council seat in March. If she doesn’t, the open seat is likely to attract a lot of new hopefuls.

Produced by Media Factory partners VTDigger, RETN, and VCAM.

Episode Number: 
003
Original Airdate: 
November 17, 2016
Series: 

Politics, Opinion, & Current Events