It is tough to say goodbye to the summer of 2014. The weather has been amazing, the City’s marquee festivals and events have had great years, long-time Church Street restaurateurs tell me they are having one of their best summers ever, and throughout the City homeowners and our institutions continue to push forward with renovations and expansions. All of this is good news for the City’s revenues – we are in the process of closing the books on Fiscal Year ’14, and all indications are that the City’s financial condition is continuing to improve.
Burlington Police Department Community Engagement Efforts
Burlington is now pulsing with the rhythms of the fall. Our neighborhood schools are once again bustling, and our college students are back. Earlier this week I joined our Police Chief Mike Schirling and many of his officers, City Councilors Selene Colburn, Jane Knodell, and Karen Paul, Code Enforcement Director Bill Ward, and leaders from social service agencies in a “Knock and Talk” effort to engage 1,000 households in the neighborhoods near the university. The group distributed fliers with safety and security information and had hundreds of conversations about quality of life issues.
This Knock and Talk is part of a sustained effort to maintain and further build the trusting relationship between our community and our police – a relationship that is critical to community health and safety. In Burlington in 2014, engagement activities have been increased significantly, with over 1,700 foot patrols occurring on our streets and in our neighborhoods in the first eight months of the year. Additionally, the police have knocked on over 2,200 doors throughout the City, with more to come in September and October. The first recent Community Police Academy was held in early 2014, and another is planned for the winter of 2014-2015.
In the weeks ahead, there will be another opportunity for the public to meet officers and staff in a social setting and to discuss issues of importance. On Thursday, September 18 from 4:00-7:00 pm the Burlington Police Department, together with a variety of community partners, will host a community networking event including an open house and barbecue in Battery Park and the Antonio B. Pomerleau Building.
Activities and information available during this event include:
● A barbecue/picnic with food provided by the Queen City Police Foundation
● Music and entertainment by DJ Craig Mitchell
● Open house and tours of the Antonio B. Pomerleau Building
● Touch a Truck with emergency and other City vehicles
● Equipment demonstrations – have you ever wondered how much a police equipment belt or bulletproof vest weighs?
● Information about the 2014-2015 Community Police Academy
● Information on community participation in interview panels for police hiring
● Recruiting information about jobs within the Department and careers in policing
● Multi-language brochures on crime prevention, personal safety, reporting crime, and providing feedback about police operations
I hope to see you at the event! At a time when recent events have reminded us of the importance of a trusted and engaged police force, I am thankful to serve with a Department that is so proactive and committed to serving its community.
NPA meetings this fall
Over the summer we continued to work on two of the City’s most difficult financial issues: the resolution of the Burlington Telecom lawsuit and reforming our pension system for municipal employees. Both of these complex and sometimes confusing issues are approaching significant milestones. We have completed our testimony and briefs to the Public Service Board and expect a ruling on the City’s proposal for the future of BT soon. The committee of City Councilors, public employees, and Administration officials that has been working since early this year to mutually understand our retirement system challenges better and seek solutions has learned a great deal, is exploring a number of new directions, and will complete its work and communicate its findings soon.
I plan to visit all of the NPAs this fall to share my perspective and answer questions on these and other issues, such as the recent issuance of an Act 250 permit for the Champlain Parkway, what will happen to the recommendations of the North Avenue Corridor Study, and what to expect now that we have broken ground on redevelopment of the northern waterfront.
I hope to see you at an upcoming NPA meeting, at a Wednesday morning coffee from 8:00-9:00 am at the Bagel Café, or at our other neighborhood events. It is also not too late to join the Mayor’s Book Group in reading An Idea Whose Time Has Come by Todd Purdum. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the book (paid for by the UVM Humanities Center) and soon-to-be-announced details about a fall event.