Vermont will be among the first states in the country to pilot a program designed to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-eligible (3SquaresVT) participants find new jobs and develop new skills for the workforce, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday. The State of Vermont community partners across Vermont are being awarded $9 million in competitive federal grants to fund the pilot program and evaluate the results, so the best approaches can later be tried in other states. Vermont is one of only ten projects selected across the nation in this competitive process.
Vermont Business Magazine If a new plan laid out Friday by the Shumlin Administration does not meet intended goals, the governor said he will move the state health insurance exchange to a new model which could include dropping much of VHC and using the federal exchange.
On Tuesday, the Vermont State Board of Education unanimously voted to suspend the use of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) scores for the 2014-2015 school year for the purpose of annual school evaluation determinations. These English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments were developed to measure student mastery of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which were adopted in 2010.
The Regional Development Corporations of Vermont (RDCs of Vermont) announced their support on Thursday of S138, a bill developed by the Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs committee, which is currently working its way through the Vermont Senate. The proposed legislation includes a number of provisions to stimulate economic development in the state.
Springfield's Bob Flint, President of the RDCs of Vermont, said that the group appreciated the efforts of the committee, and others in the State House, who have made economic development a priority this session.
by Amy Ash Nixon vtdigger.org A step taken last week to freeze education property tax rates for the coming fiscal year was partly scaled back by the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Representative Johannah Donovan, D-Burlington, ranking member of the committee, made a motion to increase the nonresidential rate by a penny, but leave the base homestead rate at this year’s level. Donovan’s motion was approved. Three members of the committee voted against the proposal: Reps.
Maponics, a leading provider of spatial data based in White River Junction, has announced the acquisition of Urban Mapping's Neighborhood product and related assets from Silicon Valley-based Urban Mapping, Inc. Urban Mapping is a geospatial web and data service company with more than 10 years of experience in precise mapping of neighborhood data. As part of the transaction the company will receive the complete Urban Mapping Neighborhood portfolio, including over 100,000 neighborhood boundaries spanning 40 countries; as well as the Urban Mapping trademark.
Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims fell for the second week, which continues an up-and-down trend this year. For the week of March 14, 2015, there were 682 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 82 from the previous week's total, and 20 fewer than they were a year ago.
Graph shows private employment (nonfarm, nongovernment)
The Vermont House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to enhance protections for residents of mobile home parks. The proposal, H123, requires that mobile home park owners ensure tenant safety by maintaining safe roads and access points for emergency use. When Tropical Storm Irene struck Vermont, 16 mobile home parks experienced flooding. First responders and advocates reported that the dilapidated roadway conditions in some mobile home parks slowed disaster response times.
Vermont Business Magazine With the median price heading back up toward $200,000, Vermont's housing market finally showed some strength in February, in a year-over-year analysis. The number of homes sold was also up, according to the RE/MAX of New England February Monthly Housing Report. However, the effects of record-snowfalls during the first two months of 2015 reverberated throughout New England’s housing market. Month-over-month, home sales again reflected the inclement weather with a decrease of 13.5 percent over January’s numbers across New England.
Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the appointment of Neale Lunderville as the new General Manager of the Burlington Electric Department. Lunderville has been serving as the interim GM for the past eight months. Weinberger has asked the City Council to approve the appointment at its March 23, 2015 meeting. Lunderville will be paid $133,555.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org The House Ways and Means Committee gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a 0.2 percent increase in the property transfer tax. The money will be used to restore polluted waterways in Vermont. The tax is paid by property buyers. It can be added to the total closing cost of the property. The current rate is 1.25 percent the total value of the property. The 0.2 percent surcharge would increase the tax to 1.45.
by Jeffrey R Wakefield Quebec has an abundance of electric power. Vermont and New England have a growing need for it. But what are the political, environmental, economic and policy issues involved in getting power from north to south? A conference at the University of Vermont March 23 and 24, "Power from the North," will put context around those questions, examine current realities and develop potential pathways for the future.