Paco DeFrancis | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Paco DeFrancis 
Member since May 4, 2016

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Updated on January 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM


Recent Comments

Re: “Keep BT Local, Ting Picked as Finalists to Buy Burlington Telecom

As a taxpayer and current BT customer I was very disheartened that six councilors voted for the Keep BT Local bid last night, thereby eliminating Shurz--a stable, family owned telecom and media conglomerate around since the 1800's--from the selection process. As a telecom consumer I value the great service and choice created by competition between healthy firms. What makes firms healthy is strong cash flow and robust working capital.

KBTL is by far the weakest bid and should never have been included as a finalist by BTAB's selection process. The junk credit at 14% interest fueling this highly leveraged proposal is indicative of considerable risk lenders have placed on a KBTL operation. With insufficient working capital available KBTL will start hemorrhaging cash under the crushing weight of their liabilities. Ensuring BT can provide sustainable service for their customers is as important to me as protecting taxpayers from the near-term risks of litigation (brought out by either Blue Water and/or Citi) and fiscal pressures that are likely with a lower bid. In the wake of financial mismanagement of BT under the Kiss admin these risks should not be taken lightly.

I have heard the arguments by KBTL; that is BT's current EBITDA is sufficient to service $12m in debt at 14% interest. However, the assumptions used in such an optimistic foward-looking analysis make even Elon Musk look bearish!!!

Paco DeFrancis

44 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 10/17/2017 at 12:07 PM

Re: “No New Moran: Burlington Ends Old Plant Redevelopment Talks

The Moran plans is subject to the Vermont Public Trust Doctrine. That doctrine has shown to be a boon in some ways (it killed Mayor Sanders' "Alden Plan" resulting in the present beloved Waterfront Park) but can certainly make an already expensive project like this very difficult to finance.

The doctrine allows for public uses only (like a community sailing center, museum, boat launch, etc). In response to Kenatwood52, neither subsidized low-income nor "high rise" market rate housing are an option.

I applaud Mayor Weinberger for taking decisive action and acknowledging that a privately-funded redevelopment and remediation project is a pipe dream that will never come to fruition.

46 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 09/01/2017 at 4:03 PM

Re: “Burlington's Lays Off 45 Employees

Complaining about the "cost" of VEGI is analogous to those in rural counties who complain about TIF debt and its impact on the VT Ed fund.

VEGI and TIF are funded by new revenue; its entirely incremental which is very exciting! Giving back some of the gains in new income tax and property tax to firms that create the growth is fair and responsible.

Vermont's cash-strapped and needs mor revenue? That's a result of bloated AHS and Medicaid spending on the GF side, and spectacularly low student-teacher ratios on the ed fund side. Don't penalize those who are trying to invest private capital in our state. Let's focus on the root cause of our fiscal woes: out-of-control Medicaid (including Dr Dynasaur) and $28k/pupil spending.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/23/2017 at 11:33 PM

Re: “Burlington's Lays Off 45 Employees

Auditor Hoffer,

That $6.3m was money well spent! We can debate its effect on Vermont-based employment using different data and modeling, but here in Vermont we spend a fraction of what Progs deem "corporate welfare" compared to states like Massachusetts and Texas. These states are eager to steal our jobs and--more importantly--members of Vermont's skilled labor force that are employed in those jobs. The lack of an urban center/tech hub like Boston or Austin already puts our state at an incredible disadvantage when attempting to lure skilled workers and firms. We all know the lengths Mass and other states will go to lure jobs and corporate headquarters (eg, recent GE move to Boston).

Sure, there are plenty of examples of wasteful VEGI grants. But's appropriation resulted in incremental employments gains of middle-class jobs paying $60-110k. As auditor, your office should be the ones flagging the wasteful incentives like the money awarded to Husky Injection for the creation of hourly manufacturing jobs that pay $13-$16/hour.

We all can agree our state doesn't need more low-wage jobs. We need higher income jobs that will result in both higher-skilled people moving into our state and the retention of more higher-skilled graduates from our colleges. growth mitigated what would've been more damage to our economy and stagnation of labor force. The $6.7m VEGI "incentives" should still be heralded as a banner public-private success, despite these recent layoffs!

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/23/2017 at 5:28 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes


You are in South Burlington and have no standing to comment. Union Street is a municipal road and not a VTrans road like St Paul/Shelburne or upper Main streets.


(....of course the out-of-town residents want Burlington taxpayers to subsidize free on-street and two-hour garage parking)

9 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Please do not slow down DPW! Streets are for transit; not for free vehicle storage. High quality multi-modal (bike, pedestrian, and yes, automobile) transit systems enhance our entire city's economy. Provided free storage for personal property on public streets subsidized by taxpayers harms the economy by creating economic waste.

The motive behind these landlords' objections is less NIMBYism and more based on their greed and selfishness. For years these mom-and-pop landlords (who own older, legacy buildings built before modern parking requirements became code) have not had to provide off-street parking for their tenants because there was ample free parking on PUBLIC streets (provided by taxpayers). I applaud DPW's work to take back these public assets for the public's best-interest: bike transit rather than free personal-property storage.

The use of city streets in the ONE for free vehicle storage rather than for transit is corporate welfare and generates inefficiencies in infrastructure that should be used for transit. These creates inequities in the services city government provides, using my tax dollars to bail out landlords who don't provide their tenants with private, off-street parking accommodations.

If there's a parking shortage in the ONE that's because there's no price for on-street parking. It's free. Selling parking permits for that area would mitigate some of the waste and could free up streets for more bike lanes.

42 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 11:29 AM

Re: “Former Burlington Bottle Redemption Center to Become Recording Studio

Here's a radical idea: How about we get rid of the Bottle Bill altogether, and put the $0.09/can back in the consumers pocket! Then we won't need any of these redemption centers and everyone can be happy.

With mandatory recycling laws in place and advance zero-sort technology accessible across Vermont there's no need for these 1970's-style bottle bills that create MASSIVE inefficiencies in the raw materials supply chain.

Margaret Cheney Welch--Congressman Welch's wife--pursued recycling reform when she was Rep. from Norwich, but quickly got shut down from special-interest groups.

This redemption center shut down not because Mr Hoekstra is trying to "gentrify" the ONE but because the business model of a redemption center is rather archaic and unfeasible in 2017. The trend of beer consumption to skew towards double IPA tall boys (high alcohol/can ratio) doesn't help either.

The Vermont House needs to repeal and replace the bottle bill.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 07/20/2017 at 5:22 PM

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