South Burlington Public Library and City Hall

Building a library, senior center and city hall

For nearly 40 years, the City's planning documents have included the desire for a downtown and the need for a public library and a city hall within this new downtown. 180 Market Street - a new Library, City Hall and Senior Center - a gathering place for community in the heart of City Center - realizes this important piece of the City's plans!

How was the project completed?

This project followed the TIF District project development process.  
Phase Three: Build 
The Council authorized a construction contract in the Fall of 2019, and the building was completed July 2021.  Not even the pandemic slowed the project down!
Phase Two: Create 
A full set of construction-ready documents was developed and the public approved financing for the project via a vote in November 2018. (Completed)
Phase One:  Engage
During this Phase, the concept was developed in consultation with the public and reviewed by City Council (Completed).

What happened to the old city hall?

The City and the School District have an agreement whereby the School District may lease the 575 Dorset Street old city hall building and land it is located on.  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 with staff offices relocating to180 Market Street.  The City will retain use of the Fire Station and the land which is associated with it.

Project Documents:

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 Team:

Roy_brothers_read_words_that_describe_south_burlingtonThe City contracted with an experienced design team led by the local firm Wiemann Lamphere Architects, which had most recently completed the VPR building.  They partnered with Humphries Poli Architects, now Ratio Design, a Colorado firm which specialized in civic buildings, and had worked on at least 80 library projects.  Many other firms were also part of the team to provide structural, environmental, acoustical and landscaping expertise.


Construction of the building was managed by Engelberth Construction, Inc.  As construction managers, they oversaw a large team of subconstractors that built all aspects of the project except for the solar array which was built by Suncommon.

Property: City and School District Agreement
The City Council and the School Board reached an agreement on Wednesday, September 5, 2108 to exchange rights and interests in real property. The Agreement provides benefits to the community and reciprocal benefits to both the School District and the City.  VIEW THE AGREEMENT

location map with context on Market Street
Building site, also showing new street which will also provide access for the School District parking lot and to a new lot to be located north of the City site and Allard Square.

Project Financing Sources:

November 6, 2018 Ballot     PASSED!

On September 4, 2018 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.

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.

Estimated Debt Schedule SBCL

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.