A major topic at our last two NPA meetings has been Finance Board and Council approval of $150K from  Pennies for Parks to Moran redevelopment skateboard rink. Councilors say they were misled by CEDO/Parks presentation about emergency flooding issues. Residents asked them to look into this further -- summary of the issues posted in Free Press comments, example:

This is not about building a new Skatepark. This is about CEDO's unethical approach to funding projects, combining unrelated projects, distributing mis-information and using it to divert dedicated funding from another department and doing whatever it takes to advance their self-defined agendas. 

Parks and Rec Director:
  • allocated a $150,000 from PFP to the proposed Skatepark when the PFP charter change does not provide funding for new projects outside the boundaries of existing parks, 
  • developed PFP budgets and prioritized PFP projects based on a personal agenda and
  • submitted them to the Board of Finance and City Council for approval without review or approval by the Park and Rec Commission, 
  • totally ignored the PFP outline for annual expenditures by category, 
  • failed to deliver more than $400,000 in completed projects with the more than $700,000 she's had to work with over the first 2 years of PFP. 
It's about $150,000 of PFP money that was allocated to the proposed new skatepark under the cloak of a CEDO bait and switch that would supposedly leverage a 27 to 1 payoff in Federal Funds from a US Department of Transportation Tiger Grant. It just sounded too good to be true, and it was. But CEDO sold it to the Mayor, the City Council, the Board of Finance, and the Park and Rec Director ... hook, line and sinker. Now that the scam has come unraveled, thanks to a concerned group of taxpayers who caught the fox in the hen house, the taxpayers have every right to demand that the $150,000 of PFP be returned to it's dedicated fund and used as intended.

Stay tuned, we're about to find out just how much our Mayor learned from Burlington Telecom, about integrity, about accountability to the taxpayers, about right and wrong, about the ongoing process of earning the trust and confidence of city taxpayers. Will he do the right thing? 
Penny for Parks "To support necessary repairs and renovations for parks, the Burlington Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending a dedicated source of capital funding."  

You Be the Judge of Funding Priorities