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Burlington Franchise Fees Voted Down

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The Burlington City Council will have to account for a significant budget shortfall following this week's special election.

Voters rejected new gas and electric franchise agreements between the city and Interstate Light & Power, whose parent company is Alliant Energy, 82%-18%.

The agreements included 3% fees that would have appeared on monthly utility bills.

The city had hoped to receive more than $600,000 this fiscal year and more than $800,000/year in subsequent fiscal years.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says a plan is in place for the current budget.

"The bigger deal for us will be how do we prepare for this next budget cycle," says Ferneau.  "We will have some very difficult meetings as we move into the winter months."

The plan for the current budget includes delaying the purchase of a fire truck, holding off on construction to Cascade Bridge and cutting multiple funds.

Voter turnout was more than 12.5% for the special election.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.