CITY SIGNS FEE FOR SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH UVM
On Sept. 26, UVM President Mark Fogel and I held a joint signing ceremony to finalize a major new fee for services agreement between the City and University. The University entered into this process voluntarily and with an appreciation for the challenges the City has in maintaining essential services while trying to keep the cost of living at an affordable level.
The resulting five year agreement is a major step towards meeting these goals it calls for a total yearly payment for services of $1,103,016, which will be phased in over the first three years of the agreement. While UVM has been making payments for services to the City over the past 20 years, this new agreement marks a significant change in the way those payments are calculated and the resulting amount of the fee.
The Citys partnership with UVM on this issue is recognition that building a successful, livable, and sustainable city is a mutually-beneficial and shared effort. The agreement was unanimously supported by the Burlington City Council (with one abstention) at its Sept. 24 meeting. For more detailed information about the agreement, you can go to the press releases section of the Mayors Office section of the City website at: www.ci.burlington.vt.us/mayor/ .
PUERTO-CABEZAS HURRICANE RELIEF DRIVE
On September 4, Hurricane Felix ripped through Nicaraguas Caribbean coast, destroying houses, crops, schools, and hospitals, among many other things. In Burlingtons sister city of Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, 16,000 residents (out of 40,000) were left homeless. As a result of Felix, at the main hospital in Bilwi patients were evacuated and both of its buildings collapsed. Many schools in the area had their roofs blown off and left children with no classes to attend. Even worse are conditions in the outlying Miskito communities.
Burlington residents and the City have a long history of reaching out across borders for cultural exchange, to make a difference in the world, and in unfortunate situations like the present to help others in need. As Puerto Cabezas rebuilds, we can, again, make a difference.
Working with the Burlington-Puerto Cabezas Sister City, we are coordinating a relief effort for Puerto Cabezas. Donations can be mailed to: Hurricane Felix relief fund, c/o The Mayors Office, Room 34, City Hall, Burlington, VT 05401 (checks may be made out to The Burlington-Puerto Cabezas Sister City Program).
HUD ANNOUNCES FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of Urban Developments Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently announced a new program which may help residents who are having trouble paying their adjustable-rate mortgages. Under the new FHASecure plan, FHA will allow families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage payments before their adjustable loans reset to a higher ratebut who are now in defaultto qualify for refinancing.
It's important that people with adjustable rate mortgages know they may have this option to prevent foreclosure on their homes. I hope that residents who are now unable to pay their mortgages, or suspect they will be unable to pay their mortgages in the near future, take advantage of FHA Secure and call to find out whether they are eligible. For more information on this program call 1-800-CALL-FHA.
CATAMOUNT HEALTH; APPLICATION PROCESS UNDERWAY STARTING OCT 1
Ive mentioned this before, but this is a program that is important to talk about again. The States new plan to expand health care coverage, Catamount Health, is scheduled to begin November 1. Those who may be eligible for Catamount Health can apply beginning Oct. 1. The cost of Catamount coverage is based on household income and in general, but with some exceptions, you must be uninsured for the previous12 months to qualify. I encourage everyone who may be eligible to learn more about the program and consider applying for coverage. We need universal health care coverage, and while Catamount doesnt accomplish this, it should provide health coverage to more people. Get more information about Catamount at http://hcr.vermont.gov/ or call 1-800-250-8427. The Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security Education Fund is also available to answer questions at 1-866-482-4723