Burlington Senior Center Manager Gail Boydstun (center) talks with Shirley Hammes (from left), Jim Cramer, Joyce Dries and John Brensinger during a game of pinochle at the center on Tuesday. Boydstun is working to create revenue streams for the organization that will have to pay rent to the City of Burlington for the use of its new facility on State Street. To read a story on those efforts, see the May 3 edition of the Burlington Standard Press. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Aldermen don’t favor rent-free pact for 2018

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

      After several months of negotiating a lease agreement with Burlington Senior Center officials, the Burlington Common Council rejected the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting.

The sticking point of the agreement, according to District 3 Alderman Jon Schultz, was the stipulation allowing the Senior Center to not pay rent for the rest of 2018.

Schultz, one of four who opposed the lease, found the agreement disappointing.

“I recognize that there were closed sessions about this,” said Schultz, who was unable to attend some of them. “I’m very surprised by this, even some nominal amount would be better.”

The other three in opposition were District 2 Alderman Ryan Heft, District 3 Alderman Steve Rauch and Todd Baumann of District 4.

While aldermen Thomas Preusker and Bob Grandi were absent, their colleagues Theresa Meyer and Susan Kott supported the lease agreement.

According to City Administrator Carina Walters, the argument for the rent-free lease, at least initially, boils down to the group assessing its revenue streams and expenditures, and coming back with a clearer picture in the fall when the city plans to review the lease payment for 2019.

Additionally, City Attorney John Bjelejac drafted the agreement after several discussions with the nonprofit senior organization.

“We did have a lease agreement, where they pay rent, but the most recent iteration of the lease as we see it now for 2018 came about because of the serious concern by the Action Group of the senior organization,” he said. “They did not think they could pull it off.”

“They believe they could thrive if they get a good start,” he added.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the May 3 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.