Friday, July 11, 2014

WVTK Local & State News July 11, 2014

Unions representing nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are set to vote on whether to authorize a strike. Meetings about the strike vote are scheduled for today in South Burlington; Saturday in Bangor, Maine; and Sunday in Portland, Maine and Manchester, New Hampshire. The company says service to customers will continue if there is a strike.

The Bullrock Corporation has signed an agreement to sell its senior care-related holdings, including the Lodge at Otter Creek. This will be one of the largest private transactions in the state’s history. An official closing on the deal is slated for later this month. Bullrock CEO Gregg Beldock says he expects a seamless transition to the new ownership, which he said will retain the current 400-person workforce of the four businesses.

Parking Rates in Burlington will be going up soon. Starting in October, rates at parking meters and at the Marketplace Garage will be going up. Putting a quarter in a parking meter currently buys 15 minutes, but after the rate change, that number will drop down to 10 minutes. The city will also add credit card swipes at 300 parking meters, or customers will have a pay by phone option. The city hopes to raise $400,000 from the price raises.

The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday approved a fiscal year 2015 municipal tax rate of 94 cents per $100 in property value. When added to education property taxes computed by the state, Middlebury taxpayers will be assessed an overall fiscal year 2015 residential property tax rate of $2.717 per $100 of property value. That rate is up 8.4 cents from the fiscal year 2014 rate of $2.633, an increase of about 3.2 percent.

The Burlington Police Department is investigating an arson at Champlain College. Police say they responded to a fire at 203 South Willard Street at around 2:45 a.m. Thursday. The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes. No one was living at the residence which was being renovated. Police say damages are estimated to cost approximately $25,000. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Arson Tip Line at 1-800-32-ARSON or the Burlington Police Department.

IBM’s union group says they’re expecting Big Blue to announce the sale of its Vermont plant soon. Earlier this week, IBM announced they will be investing $3-Billion Dollars in new chip technology over the next 5-years. The new chips will be smaller more powerful chips that could be integrate into technology that already exists. Industry experts say the sale of the manufacturing arm would allow them to fund further development. What this means for the IBM Plant in Essex Junction still remains to be seen.