Vermont Business Magazine Today the Vermont Public Utility Commission (PUC) expanded the moratorium on utility disconnections to include non-residential ratepayers and regulated water companies. A previous order, issued on March 18, 2020, had directed utilities to stop any disconnection of residential utility service due to nonpayment of electricity, natural gas, and telecommunication bills.
Vermont Business Magazine The state reported today that tax revenue collections for the month of February 2020 are still on track for the fiscal year. Administration Secretary Susanne Young acknowledged that the March results will give them a much better understanding of the COVID-19 impact. However, for February the General Fund was below its target as the personal income tax, the most important revenue source, was nearly 6 percent short. Meanwhile the Transportation and Education Funds were above their respective targets.
Vermont Business Magazine The draft final report of the 2019 Expanded Site Inspection (ESI) for per-and-polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAS) at the 158th Fighter Wing installation and adjacent property has concluded that there are elevated levels of PFAS in multiple groundwater and surface water sites. Drinking water is not impacted. Drinking water for the installation and neighboring communities is supplied by the Champlain Water District (CWD).
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health has launched VTHelplink, a new, single source clearinghouse for Vermonters to receive free, confidential and personalized information and referrals to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout the state. VTHelplink features a call center of trained staff and clinicians. Callers can get information, referrals, resources and educational materials on substance use for themselves, family and friends, or on behalf of clients.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont’s unemployment rate held at 2.4 percent in February as the major indices remained sluggish, with the labor force and employed down and unemployed up, but in small numbers. This of course is expected to change for the worse dramatically with the COVID-19 pandemic. Already unemployment claims are spiking and are expected to increase exponentially in coming weeks.
Vermont Business Magazine University of Vermont Health Network officials have mobilized a task force to increase the availability of eHealth appointments across the Network to ensure access to medical services during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott on Thursday announced that Vermont schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year. Don Tinney, a high school English teacher who serves as the president of the 13,000-member Vermont-NEA, said: "While we are disappointed and saddened, we understand the fierce urgency of maintaining the health and safety of all our students, educators, school administrators, parents, and all Vermonters."
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy announced just before midnight Thursday that Vermont is poised to receive nearly $2 billion in federal resources in the emergency spending package poised to pass Congress this week. Chief among the federal resources coming to the state will be $1.25 billion through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established to support state and counties that are addressing the economic devastation brought about by the virus. Leahy pushed for a small state minimum for the $150 billion fund, ensuring that Vermont would receive sufficient support.
Vermont Business Magazine The National Life Group Foundation has approved grants of $100,000 each to community foundations in Vermont and Texas as an initial investment to support Coronavirus relief.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health has reported that there are now 158 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vermont and nine deaths as of Thursday afternoon. This is 35 more cases and one additional death. Chittenden County presents the most cases with 75, with Windsor County second at 17. There are still no positive cases reported in Grand Isle or Essex counties.
Vermont Business Magazine The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its first round of guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), providing information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“FMLA Expansion”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”).