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105 posts categorized "Burlington Telecom" Feed

January 10, 2011

Burlington Telecom Continues to Drag Down City's Bond Rating

In what is becoming a routine event, the credit ratings agency Moody's has once again downgraded Burlington's bond ratings due to the fact that city leaders have failed to determine how Burlington Telecom will repay $16.9 million to the city's checkbook.

The credit ratings agency twice downgraded the city last year, along with other city-run entities including the Burlington International Airport. The credit downgrades affect about $87 million in debt and will make borrowing money more expensive each time the city goes to the market to borrow anew or refinance debt.

"The downgrade reflects our view that recovery of the outstanding $16.9 million balance due to the city's pooled cash account from Burlington Telecom (BT) is unlikely to occur over the medium-term, if at all," Moody's noted in its release, which was issued Friday. Mayor Bob Kiss' office released the information today.

Burlington Telecom continues to rack up costs for city taxpayers as consultants and lawyers attempt to chart its future. A meeting scheduled for this week to publicly discuss BT's current status has been postponed until January 26.

Read the full Moody's Ratings Release below.

Continue reading "Burlington Telecom Continues to Drag Down City's Bond Rating" »

January 04, 2011

Shannon Faces Challenge in Ward 5 Democratic Caucus

Joan Driscoll ** updated **

** updated #2 **

Incumbent Burlington City Councilor Joan Shannon, a Democrat, will face a challenge Thursday night for her Ward 5 seat at the district's Democratic caucus. The challenger? Former Progressive City Councilor and state legislator Carina Driscoll.

This time around, however, Driscoll is running as a Democrat and says she has no intention of running as a Progressive.

"I have no plans to run as a Progressive," said Driscoll. "Though, I think it's fair to say that, if elected, I would represent the progressive wing of the Democratic Party."

Driscoll left politics in 2004 to begin raising a family, and now believes it's time to get involved again. She also believes the city council isn't providing enough leadership — whether it's Burlington Telecom or other issues facing the city.

"It's seems that people are more interested in pulling political stunts and scoring political points than providing leadership and doing all they can to ensure taxpayers will see that $17 million protected and repaid, not lost," said Driscoll.

Continue reading "Shannon Faces Challenge in Ward 5 Democratic Caucus" »

December 29, 2010

2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics

Adrian Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

My 2010 political season didn't revolve entirely around the gubernatorial race — not when Burlington City Hall and the three-member Congressional delegation are part of my beat.

Here are some of my most memorable moments from this past year ... in politics.

Continue reading "2010: Putting the 'Tic' in Politics" »

December 26, 2010

A Year in the Life of Burlington Telecom

Obrien Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

That could easily be Burlington Telecom's motto. Or, its epitaph.

BT remained one of the most politically charged and financially relevant stories of the year, which is saying something when you have a nuclear power plant sprouting a new leak practically each week.

Budget battles under the Golden Dome came and went, as did entire administrations, but allegations of malfeasance and the tanking of a political dynasty in Burlington are here to stay. At least for a few more months.

Expect the first few months of 2011 to be the make-or-break time for Burlington Telecom. Though, it seems as if Mayor Bob Kiss isn't going to go out without a fight. With little credibility left among voters, and even his own party, it's hard to see how Kiss can lay legitimate claim to being the "credible" player on the field.

BT entered 2010 hobbling and under intense scrutiny after it was revealed in late September 2009 that city officials has "loaned" the utility $17 million over the course of several years and failed to repay the cash — violating BT's certificate of public good and the city charter.

It heads out of 2010 in no better shape, really, though somehow still in business.

Continue reading "A Year in the Life of Burlington Telecom" »

December 22, 2010

BT's Legal and Consulting Costs Top $625,000

BurlingtonCityLogo * updated *

The outside consultants hired by the city of Burlington to help it guide Burlington Telecom through an internal restructuring and external reviews by state regulators have cost the utility more than $625,000 since July 1, 2009.

That's according to a memo sent by City Hall officials to City Councilors Paul Decelles (R-Ward 7) Karen Paul (I-Ward 6). The accounting was also made in response to a records request by Seven Days.

In September, I noted in "Fair Game" that Burlington Telecom's financial and regulatory troubles had racked up close to $500,000 in charges. As of December 21, that figure sits at $625,063, according to Scott Schroeder, the city's assistant chief administrative officer.

In all, the city has paid out more than $245,000 for legal and regulatory services, which includes $64,000 toward the recent Larkin and Associates report conducted for the Department of Public Service. DPS officials told Seven Days the full cost of the report was $85,000 and would be billed to Burlington Telecom.

Continue reading "BT's Legal and Consulting Costs Top $625,000" »

December 21, 2010

Google Delays Fiber Network Decision Until 2011

Googlelogo Burlington Telecom and the Vermont Telecommunications Authority can cross one item off their Christmas wish list: An announcement from Google about which community will be home to an experimental high-speed fiber internet in the United States.

Google originally said it would make its decision by the end of the year, but last week the tech company announced it was delaying its decision until early 2011.

"We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible — nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement — and exceeded our expectations. While we’re moving ahead full steam on this project, we’re not quite ready to make that announcement," said Milo Medin, Google's vice president of access services in a statement.

Continue reading "Google Delays Fiber Network Decision Until 2011" »

December 20, 2010

Corm, Coach and Lana Wilder Team up for New Morning Show

CormcoachLanawilderThey're baaack.

The Champlain Valley awoke this morning once again to the sounds of Corm, Coach and Lana — only this time from their computers and smartphones rather than the radio.

Steve Cormier ("Corm"), Tom Brennan ("Coach") and Lana Wilder ("Lana"  launched a new, two-hour morning show on Northeast Sports Network (NSNSports.net). The show airs from 7 to 9 a.m. After the first of the year, the show will be simulcast on WCAXtra, WCAX-TV's secondary digital channel.

News of the deal with NSNSports was first reported back in November, but no date had been set for a launch.

"Corm & the Coach" has been broadcasting to the Champlain Valley for nearly two decades and was among the region's most popular morning talk shows until it ended in 2008. "Corm & the Coach" returned to the airwaves in 2009 but stopped broadcasting in April when the station they were on fell into financial difficulty. Wilder was let go from her morning radio gig at Star 92.9 FM earlier this year after seven years at the station and more than 20 years in the local market.

Continue reading "Corm, Coach and Lana Wilder Team up for New Morning Show" »

December 17, 2010

Mayor Bob Kiss: Report Critical of Burlington Telecom 'Lacks Credibility'

Local-kiss It's a tried and true trick of the trade: If you have bad news to release, ship it off to the media as near the end of business on Friday as possible.

Both today and last Friday, Queen City officials released statements about the beleaguered Burlington Telecom between 4 and 5 p.m. 

Today's release was critical of a state report that itself was highly critical of the financial and management decisions that led to Burlington Telecom's hefty debt load and poor financial condition.

Last week, Mayor Bob Kiss issued a brief statement saying he would comment more fully at a later date. Today, Kiss issued a broader critique of the report, but said the city will respond further next week as it more fully reads and evaluates the report.

Continue reading "Mayor Bob Kiss: Report Critical of Burlington Telecom 'Lacks Credibility'" »

December 14, 2010

Supreme Court Denies Immunity for Top Burlington Official

Gavel 3The Vermont Supreme Court has denied a last-ditch appeal by Burlington's Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold to be granted immunity from a citizen lawsuit seeking immediate repayment to taypayers of $17 million loaned to Burlington Telecom.

The suit was brought last year by former city councilors Fred Osier and Gene Shaver. Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Helen Toor banned the city from dipping any further into the so-called "cash pool" to pay for Burlington Telecom's ongoing operations.

The pair wants BT to repay the entire $17 million, along with their legal fees. If BT doesn't have enough cash, they want Leopold to be held personally liable for repayment, too.

The one paragraph ruling, signed by all five members of the Supreme Court, reads:

Continue reading "Supreme Court Denies Immunity for Top Burlington Official" »

December 09, 2010

Burlington Nabs National Sustainability Award

SustainableBTV Not all the news coming out of Vermont's largest city is bad, or about Burlington Telecom.

This week, city officials announced that the Queen City, in conjuction with Champlain Housing Trust, won the national award for excellence from the Home Depot Foundation for sustainable community development. The award come with a $75,000 check.

Home Depot produced a five-plus minute video interviewing city officials, residents and business owners about the city's Legacy Project, its sustainability efforts as well as what next steps are in the works. You can view the video here.

The award recognizes "cities that are incorporating real-world sustainability initiatives into their day-to-day operations, with a focus on efficient use of municipal budget funds while increasing the livability of the community for all residents."

Burlington won the “small city” award and joins Tacoma, Washington, winner of the large city award, as one of two national winners.

Continue reading "Burlington Nabs National Sustainability Award" »

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