Burlington Telecom sale cited for boost in city bond rating

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Some good news for Burlington taxpayers: Burlington's bond rating has been upgraded, which means millions of dollars in savings.

It basically means the city can do more with every tax dollar spent.

Mayor Miro Weinberger says the upgrade allows the city to invest in things like infrastructure and, over time, taxpayers will pay less for municipal and education property taxes. Plus, as Burlington High School prepares to embark on a $70 million renovation, the mayor says the city will save about $5 million compared to what it would have spent if the rating was lower.

Ultimately, Weinberger hopes these changes will attract more people and businesses to Burlington.

"Being a double-A city signals to business owners and homeowners that we are a stable, well-managed city that will deliver the services that are necessary for a high quality of life and for economic growth and we're going to be able to deliver those services at a predictable cost," said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

Moody's Investors Service says a major factor the company considered in making this upgrade is the sale of Burlington Telecom. In its report, it says the resolution of Burlington Telecom litigation highlights an experienced management team and eliminates significant financial risk.

But not every resident believes the sale-- and this resulting upgrade-- will have a positive impact on the city.

"It's sort of like saying we cured the disease by killing the patient. We had a successful telecom that could itself add an asset to the city, the city's finances and stability and economic growth, much, much greater than any benefit from giving it away," said Dean Corren, who opposed the sale of Burlington Telecom.

Intervenors like Corren say they plan to have their day in court soon to sue for the $17 million lost in the Burlington Telecom sale. We'll keep you updated on that as we learn more on when that will be.

But for now, Moody's says as long as the city continues to improve policies and increase affordable housing, the city will maintain this healthy financial status.

The mayor says he's committed to staying on the right track.