North End residents want answers about Burlington Telecom debacle, pension fund, cash pool IOUs, and MORE

Burlington, Vermont - December 21, 2010
A Tuesday night NPA public forum put city leaders in the hot seat.

Burlington residents have had ten days to digest an audit that points to several problems with the operations of Burlington Telecom. The forum allowed taxpayers to ask the mayor and city council about $17 million BT took from city coffers to pay its bills.

Burlington Telecom has lost money every year since 2005. Now the audit, that shows how troubled the utility is, has many taxpayers wondering how this could happen.

"What risk have all the taxpayers in this city been placed in?" asked John Foss.

Burlington Telecom was never supposed to be paid for with taxpayer money. But $16.9 million was taken out of the city's pooled cash fund. City councilors say while they knew BT was in financial trouble, they did not know taxpayers could be put on the hook for BT's debt.

"The audit which was a very exhaustive effort by a professional company makes it very clear that the city council was never consulted. The city council was never asked for any authorization and there were actually steps taken that kept information from the city council," said Kurt Wright, R-Burlington City Council. MORE...