Downtown TIF District

A Public Information Hearing on the Public Questions to be voted on at the Annual City Meeting will be held on
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in Contois Auditorium
City Hall, 149 Church St., Burlington, VT
The hearing will provide information on the all of the public questions that have been placed on the ballot, the full text of which can be found in the Meeting Warning posted in the City Clerk’s Office and through the City’s webpage http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CT/Elections
               This will include the following Downtown TIF district question:
Click here to view the DRAFT Public Information Notice approved by Burlington Board of Finance on February 9, 2015 – scheduled for City Council on February 17, 2015


On February 7, 2011, the City Council of Burlington created the Downtown TIF District.  Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) then approved the Downtown TIF District Plan on June 23, 2011.  For the full application and approval by VEPC, please visit VEPC's website at http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/funding/tif/burlington.

By statute, the legal creation date for all TIF Districts becomes April 1 of the calendar year in which the district was created. The creation date for the Downtown TIF District is April 1, 2011.

The City will retain incremental property tax revenues for 20 years beginning with the year in which the first TIF infrastructure debt is incurred. Assuming City incurs first debt in 2015, the end date for retaining incremental property tax revenues will run through fiscal year 2035.

To fully activate the Downtown TIF District, Burlington made an application/ filing to the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) as part of our approved Downtown Tax Increment Finance District in November of 2014. This application/filing is required as part of the process to receive VEPC’s approval of the specific development phases within the district before TIF public improvements can be made or TIF debt to finance those improvements can be incurred.  Burlington received VEPC approval to proceed on December 17, 2014.

Burlington City Council and Board of Finance met on the following dates to discuss the City’s application to VEPC and about placing a Downtown TIF District question on the March 2015 ballot for voters: November 10, 2014; January 5, 2015; and January 12, 2015.  Materials presented at these meetings can be found below as clickable pdfs:


On January 12, 2015, the City Council unanimously placed the following question on the March 3, 2012 ballot:

 “Shall the City Council be authorized to pledge the credit of the City to secure indebtedness or make direct payments for the purpose of funding one or more public improvements and related costs attributable to projects serving the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, specifically:

(a) Main Street Streetscape Upgrades: (the two blocks between Church Street and Pine Street inclusive of all intersections) to include streetscape, stormwater, utility, lighting and transportation upgrades;

(b) St. Paul Street Streetscape Upgrades: (the two blocks between Main Street and Maple Street inclusive of all intersections) to include streetscape, stormwater, utility, lighting and transportation upgrades;

(c) Brownfields Remediation/Brown’s Court: relating to preparation of site for redevelopment;

(d) Marketplace Garage Improvements and Repair: as a supplement to other funding for this project;

(e) Related Costs: reimbursement for TIF eligible related costs incurred by the City for the creation, implementation and administration of the Downtown TIF District, including direct municipal expenses such as departmental or personnel costs related to creating or administering the district to the extent they are paid from the municipal and not education taxes and are otherwise reimbursed in accordance with law;

in a total principal amount not to exceed $10,000,000 (which will bring the total Downtown TIF District debt approved since the Downtown TIF District’s creation to $10,000,000), and to issue bonds, notes or make interfund loans for such purpose with the understanding that tax increment from the properties within the Downtown TIF District shall be pledged and appropriated for the payment of such indebtedness or direct costs of the improvements; and with the further understanding that the City may utilize more than the statutory minimum requirement of 75 % of all municipal increment, up  to and including 100 % of same, in meeting the financial obligations of the district?”

View Frequently Asked Questions for Downtown TIF March 3, 2015 Ballot Question.


Downtown TIF Purpose

The purpose of the Downtown TIF is to promote economic and public infrastructure development in a portion of Burlington's Designated Downtown.

  1. TIF is designed to have the tax increment revenue fund improvements, not increase taxes.
  2. Burlington's Downtown TIF can fund stormwater, utility, streetscape, public parking, and transportation/pedestrian improvements.
  3. The vote on Town Meeting Day in March 2012 did not authorize specific debt - but provided the City with the option of using TIF revenue to repay debt incurred.
  4. Incurring specific debt will require a separate approval by voters or the City Council, depending on the type of debt.

The boundaries of the downtown TIF district, as shown in this map, is fully within the Central Business District and Designated Downtown, but does not overlap with the Waterfront TIF.

The properties within the Downtown TIF District have development or redevelopment potential and/or will benefit from public infrastructure investments in some capacity. Development or redevelopment stimulated within the district will provide employment opportunities, improve and broaden the tax base, and enhance the general economic vitality of the Burlington region. TIF is intended to enhance the Designated Downtown's attractiveness to potential developers, businesses, tourists, and residents. This, in turn, provides jobs and improves the local economy

Further Questions, Comments, Concerns

For more information on these and other issues, please contact one of the people listed below.

  • For general questions about Burlington's Downtown TIF District, please contact CEDO's Senior Project and Policy Specialist, Kirsten Merriman Shapiro (KMerriman@burlingtonvt.gov) 802-865-7284
  • For legal concerns, please contact Richard Haesler at the Burlington City Attorney's Office at rhaesler@burlingtonvt.gov or 802-865-7567.