Groups Supporting Burlington Ballot Items Spend $30,000 | Off Message
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Groups Supporting Burlington Ballot Items Spend $30,000

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 5:25 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking at a news conference about ballot questions - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking at a news conference about ballot questions

Three groups supporting two Election Day ballot questions related to the proposed Burlington Town Center project have spent more than $30,000 trying to get them passed, campaign filings show.


The Partnership for Burlington’s Future, a political action committee, has spent $15,430, finance reports filed October 28 show. Together for Progress registered as a public question committee — meaning it spent cash for political purposes but did not raise any. It spent $9,539, according to a filing from November 2. And BTC Mall Associates, another public question committee, spent $5,586, an October 28 filing shows.


The groups hope voters approve ballot items No. 3, which would create a downtown zoning district allowing taller buildings, and No. 4, which would allow the city to bond $21.8 million in tax increment financing for street improvements around the district.

The Partnership for Burlington’s Future, a PAC created by Mayor Miro Weinberger, has also spent to support ballot items No. 1 and No. 2, which would authorize spending for capital improvements and water pipeline updates and replacement.

Together for Progress involves the Burlington Business Association, AARP, Local Motion, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. The BBA is funding its costs, said its executive director, Kelly Devine.

Filings show the group spent money on fliers and brochures, advertisements, bumper stickers, buttons and T-shirts, along with food and a public address system, likely for a Pop-up Beer Hall event held last week inside the Burlington Town Center.

click to enlarge Members of the Coalition for a Livable City - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Members of the Coalition for a Livable City

Don Sinex, the mall’s owner, is behind BTC Mall Associates. He’s spent on advertisements online and in print. The passing of both ballot initiatives would allow him to go forward with his proposed $250 million mall redevelopment. The mixed-use building would rise 14 stories — about 160 feet — if the new zoning ordinance is passed. His ads tout “the new Burlington Town Center,” but do not specifically advocate for “yes” votes on the ballot initiatives.

Opponents of the TIF and zoning change questions have rallied under the banner of the Coalition for a Livable City. The group registered as a PAC in late June. Its members have has raised $8,755 and spent about $7,327, a report filed Friday says. The coalition spent on advertisements, printing, postage and copies.


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Sasha Goldstein

Sasha Goldstein

Bio:
Sasha Goldstein is Seven Days' deputy news editor.

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