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Voters approve all Burlington ballot issues

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 8:50 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 11:28 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Voters approved all of Burlington’s ballot issues on this Town Meeting Day.

RANKED CHOICE

That means ranked-choice voting is coming to Burlington. According to the unofficial results, the charter change passed on a count of 8,914-4,918. That comes out to around 64% to 36%.

This means starting next Town Meeting Day, in March 2022, voters will rank City Council candidates in order of preference. But the state Legislature must accept the result first.

Burlington had ranked-choice from 2005 to 2009 before it was repealed in 2010.

THERMAL ENERGY

The regulation of thermal energy systems in the city of Burlington passed 8,931 to 4,910 votes or about 65%-35%.

This allows the city to ask the state Legislature if it can draft legislation to tax new developments if they choose to use fossil fuels in their heating.

This vote will come back to Burlingtonians if the Legislature approves, and then the City Council will draft another resolution for voters to weigh in on regarding a potential carbon fee.

JUST CAUSE

Another hot button issue in the Queen City-- Just Cause-- passed by a count of 8,829 to 5187 or approximately 63% to 37%.

This also goes straight to the Legislature like the other charter changes. If accepted this means a landlord would have to prove a tenant breached their lease, violated the law or failed to pay rent in order to be evicted.

Progressive City Councilor Brian Pine spoke Tuesday night about what this means for tenants going forward.

“It’s supposed to give tenants some level, some modicum of security of tenure to knowing that if you follow the rules, if you pay your bills, you pay your rent, you won’t get booted out for no reason,” Pine said.

These charter changes only changed what could be considered the Constitution of the city. The actual changes, if approved by the Legislature, will come back to the council to have ordinances drafted. Then the changes once approved on a city level can begin.

SCHOOL BUDGET

Voters approved the city’s $95 million school budget by a vote of 10,715 to 3,411.

It will mean a 6.88% hike in property taxes, or an additional $353 per year for a home valued at $250,000. If you’re paying through income tax, it’s a 6.4% increase, or $81 a year for an annual income of $50,000.

Click here for all the unofficial results.

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