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Burlington Petition Drive Valid

Apr 28, 2013

Burlington residents will have the final say in whether new gas and electric franchise fees are established.

The petitions calling for a special election in Burlington are valid.

The city council has signed off on new franchise agreements, with the new 3% franchise fees, with Interstate Light & Power.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says by establishing the franchise fees, the city could avoid increasing its property tax rate by an additional $1.00.

Shortly after the final city council vote, though, a pair of petitions were delivered to the city by former Mayor John Sandell.

They called for a public vote on the agreements.

Ferneau says legal counsel has reviewed the petitions and determined there are more than enough valid signatures.

He says because of that, the city council will vote on May 6 to hold a special election on Aug. 6.

Ferneau says the city will not campaign in support of the agreements and franchise fees.

Instead, he says the city council will start working on “what-if” scenarios in case the agreements are voted down and Burlington’s budget ends up with a $600,000 shortfall.

The scenarios could include laying off public safety employees or cutting library funding.