TIF District Bond officially on the ballot for South Burlington

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2022 at 7:01 PM EST
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - South Burlington city councilors approved a $15 million bond to go before voters on Town Meeting Day. The funds will go toward the City Center project that has been in the works for the past 10 years.

At some point, the area between Market and Garden streets will be home to 300 new apartments, housing workers for the UVM Medical Center and a handful of other commercial spaces.

It will also include pedestrian bridges and walkways for people to navigate its busy surroundings.

City Development Director Ilona Blanchard says these projects will be funded using tax increment financing or a “TIF District.” This means approving the bond will not directly impact the city’s property taxpayers.

“It’s financed by an increase in property values, not in changes to the tax rate,” Blanchard said. “So that development that occurs inside the TIF District, that increase in property value, pays for the infrastructure.”

Those living in and visiting South Burlington say they like the idea of a central city hub.

“I mean, Church Street has become a little expensive, so maybe a smaller area for people to hang out and get coffee, maybe like a gym or something,” said Mike Phalen, who now lives in Underhill.

“Already with my kids, we come here often, whether to shop for food or go to Barnes and Noble and the mall, so if we had more of a downtown feel, it would be wonderful,” Shelburne resident Simenon Pierre said.

City Manager Jessie Baker says the effort is already paying off. In the next two years, they expect to see $150 million of private investment in the area.

“Our community has said they want a downtown. They want a city center. They want a new neighborhood here on Market and Garden streets,” Baker said. “This last bond vote really enables us to finish that municipal infrastructure.”

City officials say they expect work in the city center to be done by 2027 or 2028, although the TIF District goes until 2037.

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