City Council requests Burlington Telecom compromise

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington's City Council did not pick a winner for Burlington Telecom Monday night. Instead, councilors want a compromise.

After two tied votes on Ting and Keep BT Local, councilor Ali Dieng proposed that both bidders work together to create a joint venture. The companies will have to let the city know if this is possible by Friday.

If it is, the Council would still need to approve the proposal.

If it isn’t, then the city would invite back all four finalists, including Schurz and ZRF.

Councilor Kurt Wright says the Council would then have its final vote on who will buy the cable and internet provider on Nov. 27.

"It boils down to... do they come up with framework for an agreement?" said Wright. "If they don’t, then we go to this new process, or we still go to this new process."

The Council was deadlocked before this idea.

Many of the Democrats favored Ting, and all of the Progressives wanted Keep BT Local. Independents were split, and sole Republican Kurt Wright voted for Ting.

The Keep BT Local cooperative is offering $12 million but would leave Burlington a partial interest in the company.

Ting, which is a publicly-traded company based out of Toronto, is offering the Queen City $30.5 million and a full buildout of the fiber system in Burlington.

During the discussion, many councilors brought up the threat of a lawsuit by Citibank if they go with Keep BT Local.

The city has to sell Burlington Telecom as part of a settlement with Citibank and local investor Trey Pecor. During former mayor Bob Kiss' administration, residents and city leaders were shocked when $17 million of taxpayer money was put toward the company to keep it running.