For nearly 40 years, the City's planning documents have included the desire for a downtown. Also within the plans has been the need for a public library and a city hall in downtown, and a community gathering center. This project at 180 Market Street, in the heart of City Center, will realize this long-desired vision.
This new community center is expected to serve the public for the next 100 years as a governmental center, as well as a place to gather, socialize and engage in educational and other activities. This is the next phase of public investment in City Center, following the reconstruction of Market Street and the creation of City Center Park.
November 6, 2018 Ballot
On September 4, the City Council voted to place the question on the November 6, 2018 ballot, asking voters for permission to incur debt for this project (City Article I). This project includes an agreement with the School District with an exchange of land rights that would need to be approved by the public (City Article I, School District Articles I, II). See the full November 6, 2018 ballot here. You may also read only the City ballot articles here.
A YES vote on all four articles will approve the project. A NO vote on all four articles will not approve the project.
Public Information Sessions
The City is offering several information sessions to the public to share information about the project in advance of the November 6 vote and to answer questions.
All sessions held at 6:30 PM.
Tues. Oct. 16 - Orchard School (Gymnasium)
Tues. Oct. 23 - Chamberlin School (Gymnasium)
Wed. Oct. 24 - Tuttle Middle School (Cafeteria)
The Property: Where will the building be built?
The building would be built at 180 Market Street, east of the new Allard Square building and south of the Rick Marcotte Central School.
Property: City and School District Agreement
The City Council and the School Board reached an agreement on Wednesday, September 5 to exchange rights and interests in real property. The Agreement will provide numerous benefits to the community and reciprocal benefits to both the School District and the City. VIEW THE AGREEMENT
Site, also showing future access road for the School District parking lot to east of site.
The Project Budget is set at $21.8M. Cash on hand reduces the total debt required for the project: impact fees and donations. Other sources of financing will be sought for the solar array, similar to recent renewable energy projects.
This brings the total Debt Authorization sought to $20.4M. This requested authorization number is a ceiling of total bonded and TIF District financing debt. Debt would be issued only as needed up to the ceiling authorized by the voters.
Additional cost savings will be sought during the design process. The Library Board of Trustees is also undertaking a Capital Campaign. Either of these may be used to further reduce the actual debt.
Per TIF District Financing state statutes, the City has prepared a Public Information Notice regarding the vote on Tax Increment Financing.
Project Financing Sources
What is the total cost of this project?
What is the total amount of bonded debt needed to support the project?
Will this project increase my taxes?
Debt issued under this authorization will not raise the tax rate. Debt will be serviced by two main revenue sources: TIF District Financing and City Center Reserve Fund (see details on these sources below). There is no additional tax increase needed.
What are the sources of money that will pay for this project?
- City Center Reserve Fund ($15,400,000 Estimated Bond) 30 Years
- Tax Increment Financing ($5,000,000 Estimated Bond) 17-19 Years
- Library Blanchette Fund ($428,000)
- Impact Fees ($220,000)
- Solar Array RoofNet Metering Credits ($720,000)
The TIF District Financing revenues are generated from new development within the TIF District – revenues that did not exist prior to 2012 and most of which would otherwise be transferred from South Burlington to the State.
The Reserve Funds are revenues that have been built up over time through annual transfers of general fund revenues to the Reserve Fund. These annual transfers are already represented in the current tax rate and have been presented at annual budget meetings. These transfers are made on an annual basis to support debt service and provide a financial cushion.All debt will be general obligation debt against the full faith and credit of the City. At the time that the construction costs are known, the City Council will be asked to consider issuing debt (including any anticipation notes). Debt will be issued in at least two separate bond issuances, one serviced by TIF District financing, and one serviced by the Reserve Fund.
Estimated Debt Payment Schedule
The Estimated Debt Payment Schedule is a conservative projection of future bond payments, TIF District revenues, and the annual transfer to the Reserve Fund from the General Fund over the next 30 years or the anticipated life of the bond, whichever is shorter.
TIF District Financed Bond. The green portion of the Estimated Debt Services Schedule models a TIF District revenue financed bond. An important characteristic of TIF districts is that revenues grow over the 20-year life of a TIF district as development accumulates.
The first line “Proposed TIF Bond Payment” lists the estimated annual bond payment to fund a $5,000,000 bond using a schedule provided by the Vermont Bond Bank.
The second line “TIF Bond Payment” shows the payment schedule for the bond issued in 2017 for Market Street and City Center Park. The existing (and proposed) TIF District serviced bond terms include 5-year delayed principal payments.
The third line, “Projected TIF Increment”, projects future TIF District revenues using forecasts provided by the developers of the SBCC, LLC land (for which two projects have submitted this year). The amounts shown in FY 2018 and 2019 are actual receipts. Over time annual revenues increase as the SBCC, LLC property is fully developed. Revenues start at less than $100,000, but are projected to increase to over $2 million dollars annually.
The fourth line of figures, “Annual Balance (Receivable)” is the first two lines (annual TIF debt service) subtracted from the third line (annual TIF District revenue). This is the annual surplus or receivable expected for a given fiscal year.
The fifth line represent the cumulative TIF District fund balance. This is the prior year’s cumulative balance, minus this year’s payments, plus this year’s Projected TIF increment.
As discussed earlier, the TIF Revenues rely on the Reserve Fund to function as a fiscal “cushion” – read on for further discussion.
City Center CIP Reserve Fund. Reserve Funds are used to “smooth out” debt service payments over time. In Vermont it is generally the most cost effective to borrow through the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank. Lending terms however, are not flexible in terms of payment size. All municipalities are required to make level principal payments as well as interest payments according to a schedule. The result is that (unlike a homeowner’s mortgage) the first year’s payment is the largest, while the last year’s payment is the smallest. A reserve fund mediates this fluctuation and allows the City to plan for larger expenditures and eliminate an increase in taxes, as an annual rate of smaller transfers to the reserve fund over time removes the need to increase or 'spike' taxes.
The gray portion of the Estimated Debt Schedule, titled “City Center Reserve Fund Financed Bond” models the Reserve Fund expenditures, revenues, and balances. The first line “Proposed Reserve Fund Bond Payment” models the annual payment using a Vermont Bond Bank estimated debt service schedule.
The second line shows the annual transfers from the General Fund. The first two columns for FY 2018 and FY 2019 are the amount included in these years' budgets and tax rates. Subsequent years project the minimum amount to fully service the debt: a continued annual contribution of $736,000. This amount (already built into today’s tax rate) is $124,000 below the recommended $860,000 annual contribution to the City Center CIP Reserve Fund (reached in FY 2017, but reduced to $750,000 in FY 2018).
The third line of the gray chart “Cumulative City Center Reserve Fund Balance” shows the current and prior year’s balance and projects what the balance would be over the life of the debt service with a consistent minimum transfer. This number is the prior year Reserve Fund Balance, plus the Annual General Fund Transfer (2nd line), minus the Proposed Reserve Fund Bond Payment for that year (1st line).
The Reserve Fund also provides the City with a fiscal cushion for TIF District Financing receivables. This accommodates the reality that the SBCC, LLC property will be built out over time as development projects are completed and added to the Grand List. The blue line “Receivable Cushion” equals the last gray line “Cumulative City Center Reserve Fund Balance” plus the last green line “Cumulative TIF Fund Balance”. The surplus reserve funds in any given year demonstrates that while the accounts are separate, actual bank balances will be sufficient to “carry” receivable amounts shown in the TIF District Fund until the developments on the SBCC, LLC land generate more revenue.
What is the Project Schedule?
This project follows the TIF District project development process.
Phase One: Engage
During this Phase, the concept has been developed in consultation with the public for review by City Council (Winter - Summer 2018).
Phase Two: Create
A full set of construction-ready documents will be developed, permits obtained, and the public will be asked to approve financing for the project via a vote in November (Winter 2018-2019).
Phase Three: Build
The Council will asked to consider authorizing a construction contract (Spring 2019), pending authorization, the building will be built, move in will occur and everyone will be invited to opening celebrations (2020).
What will happen to City Hall (School District Land Transfer)?
The City and the School District have an agreement whereby the City may lease the 575 Dorset Street City Hall building and three acres it is located on to the School District. The School District, after three years, may elect to own this property, for a nominal consideration. The Recreation Department will continue to use 575 Dorset Street as needed. The City will retain use of the Fire Station and the land which is associated with it.
Library Children's Section
Library 2nd Floor - south side
Library Digital Lab
Library 2nd Floor - northwest corner
Floor Plans (subject to change)
1st Floor - Welcome Desk, Senior Center, Library, Auditorium
2nd Floor - Library
3rd Floor - City Offices and meeting spaces
Purpose and Need
Purpose and Need Statement 4/24/2018 - The purpose and need statement is the guiding document representing the community interest and needs. Project alternative concepts and design advances are tested against this document. The Library Board of Trustees approved the Purpose and Need statement on 3/8/2018 and the Planning Commission approved the Purpose & Need statement on 4/24/2018.
This project is a civic center housing the Library, Senior Center and City Hall. The building is being designed to conveniently serve individuals of all ages, interests and abilities and anchor Market Street. This dynamic and engaging space will invite the public in for learning, growth and celebration. It will cultivate democracy, knowledge, transparency and belonging to a community and place.
Project Consultant Team:
The City has contracted with an experienced design team led by the local firm Wiemann Lamphere Architects, which has most recently completed the VPR building. They have partnered with Humphries Poli Architects, a Colorado firm, which specializes in civic buildings, and has worked on at least 80 library projects. Many other firms are also part of the team and will provide structural, environmental, acoustical and landscaping expertise.
More Info or Have Comments?
Need more information or have a thought you would like to share with the project team? Contact Ilona Blanchard, Project Director at 802-846-4107.