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Burlington Trying to Limit Tax Hike

The Burlington City Council is trying to reduce what could be a hefty property tax increase next year.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says the proposed $50-million budget he presented to the panel attempts to maintain current services while also paying off debt and creating cash reserves.

He says the latter two must be done if the city is to restore its credit rating.  He says a second downgrade could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars more whenever it borrows money.

Ferneau says to accomplish those goals, the spending plan relies on a $0.60 increase in the property tax rate.

He says the council plans to spend the next few weeks trying to reduce the increase.

"The primary discussions that (aldermen) have had is how do we take things out of this (budget)," says Ferneau, "not how to we add to certain areas."

Ferneau says the spending plan already includes cuts to economic development, the public library and personnel that were discussed after proposed franchise fees failed last fall.

There is money available for some street work and the city's ongoing sewer separation project.

Burlington's budget must be certified by mid-March.

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