Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger is already looking ahead to the November election, and has proposed ballot items to essentially refinance the city’s debt.
Weinberger proposed a $9 million bond on this November’s ballot. He says the goal is to take advantage of historically low interest rates.
Under Weinberger’s plan, Burlington would take out a 15-year loan to pay off short-term debt.
Weinberger says Burlington has relied too heavily on expensive short-term loans. He says the bond would free up city cash.
"We borrow millions of dollars every year on short-tern notes," Weinberger said. "We pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just rolling over that short-term borrowing from year to year and we’re not making any progress toward digging our way out of it. This is the municipal equivalent of a household that has a lot of credit card debt and chooses to refinance that credit card debt by putting it onto their stable long-term mortgage."
Leading credit agencies have recently downgraded Burlington’s rating. Moody’s Investors Service placed the city’s general obligation debt at slightly above junk bond status.
Because of these budget issues, Weinberger scrapped a long-developed plan to restore a former electric plant on the city’s waterfront.
He says his administration isn’t willing to risk the investment in a building that’s been empty for 25 years.