City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Miro Weinberger, Mayor
Room 34, City Hall / Burlington, VT 05401 Phone: 802-865-7272 mayor@burlingtonvt.gov

 

Mayor's Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger January 2018
 

As we begin the New Year in Burlington, I am grateful as always for the hard work of our City team to strengthen our City’s finances, address the opioid crisis, provide emergency road repair, and so much more. I am also grateful to Burlington residents for continuing to support us in these and other efforts, and for ensuring our city remains a wonderful place to live, work, and visit.

 

First Audit in 15 Years with No Findings

Back in 2012, when the City of Burlington was downgraded to the edge of junk bond status, this Administration committed to turning the City of Burlington’s finances around. The Fiscal Year 2012 Management Letter, dated January 24, 2013, listed 27 findings, of which twelve were identified as a “Material Weakness,” and one was a “Significant Deficiency.” Because of the dedication and hard work of our City team over the past six years, in January 2018 we earned the first audit in 15 years with zero findings and no “Material” or “Significant” weaknesses.

 

I thank our Clerk-Treasurer’s Office team, City Departments, City Council, and Burlington voters for helping us so dramatically improve our city’s financial health. Since voters approved the Fiscal Stability Bond in 2012, improvements to our credit rating have resulted in total net present value savings of approximately $12.6 million in current dollars (or $18.9 million in gross dollars), while we have continued to invest funding in important new projects like the Sustainable Infrastructure Plan and Early Learning Initiative.

 

For more information about this and other progress, you can view our annual Fiscal Health Report in the agenda packet for the January 29, 2018 Board of Finance meeting.

 

City Launches New Safe Response Team

While the City is working to keep its finances strong, it is also continuing a relentless effort to address the growing opioid addiction crisis in Burlington and Chittenden County. Although our collective work at the State and local level has yielded positive results – such as a decrease in opioid prescription statewide – we know there is more we can and must do.

 

A year and a half ago, the City of Burlington launched the CommunityStat initiative, a monthly meeting that brings together police, public health and safety professionals, and social service providers to coordinate and innovate our efforts to turn the tide of the crisis in Burlington and Chittenden County. Since the launch of that meeting, we have identified numerous opportunities to better assist those suffering from addiction.

 

This month, we announced the launch of a new Safe Response Team that will respond within 60 hours of any opioid-related overdose to provide treatment resources and the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. I believe this is an important chance to show compassion for those suffering from addiction, to let them know that the City and the Burlington community are here for them whenever they are ready to seek help, and to get more residents suffering from addiction into treatment that works.

 

The Safe Response Team is composed of our City Opioid Policy Coordinator Jackie Corbally, Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Shawn Burke, and Fire Chief Steven Locke. The team will begin this new effort on February 1 as part of a four-month pilot, with the anticipation of responding to two to five calls per week. The Safe Response Team will report back to CommunityStat once the pilot has been completed, and we will determine whether to make this team permanent.

 

 

Winter Road Repair

I hope you all have stayed safe and warm during this winter’s extreme weather. As many of you are no doubt aware, the near-record and extended cold weather in late December and January has contributed to the significant deterioration of sections of Pine Street, Colchester Avenue, Maple Street, Plattsburg Avenue, and North Avenue. These are vital residential, transportation and commercial corridors, and our Department of Public Works (DPW) has been working hard as weather permits to fill some of the most significant potholes.

 

In one weekend alone, DPW called in emergency crews to use approximately two tons of material to improve road conditions throughout the city. Since then, crews continued to be very active, filling in potholes and delaminated segments of road. Crews will continue addressing road conditions along North Avenue, among other streets.

 

The City has significantly expanded its paving and sidewalk reinvestment with the help of the Sustainable Infrastructure Plan and voter-approved infrastructure bonds, and many segments of roads affected by this winter’s weather have been built into DPW work plans for repaving during upcoming construction seasons. Future plans include:

 

  • To take advantage of federal grant funding and relieve taxpayers of most of the expense, Pine Street is scheduled to be repaved in conjunction with the Champlain Parkway project in one to two years, and after significant upgrades to drinking water infrastructure in 2018.
  • Colchester Ave (between Barrett Street and Nash Place) is scheduled to be repaved in 2018 following subsurface drinking water infrastructure upgrades.
  • A key segment of Plattsburg Avenue is scheduled for repaving during spring 2018.

 

I thank our hardworking DPW team for its efforts to address this near-historic winter season, and look forward to seeing these and other streets undergo substantial improvements thanks to voters’ support of the Sustainable Infrastructure Plan bonds.

 

As always, I encourage you to join me at the Bagel Café on Wednesday mornings from 8-9am to share any thoughts or questions you may have about these and other important developments in our city. You can also visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MiroBTV/, or follow me on Twitter at @BTVMayor for up-to-date information on the work of the Mayor’s Office and our City Departments. I look forward to seeing you soon.