Innovation & Technology

December 2018 Update

This is the monthly update from BTVStat, a performance management system implemented by the Mayor in 2016 to track and improve the City’s operations. Every month, BTVStat brings together Department Heads to review operational and equity performance metrics for three or more City Departments and discuss how City teams can collectively identify challenges, make operations more transparent, track progress, control costs, and promote accountability, learning, and collaboration.

Highlights from the most recent meeting are outlined below. Additional information on these issues and others are available on the City's BTVStat Dashboard.

 closer look at who summer recreation programs are serving: The Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront (BPRW) oversees all of Burlington’s three dozen parks, 550+ acres of open space, four public beaches, the City’s street trees & greenways, Community Gardens, 3 Cemeteries, Miller Recreation Center, Leddy Ice Arena, Champlain Senior Center, North Beach Campground, Community Boathouse Marina and all recreation programs. The Department’s mission is to “connect diverse and dynamic public spaces and programs which grow, inspire and create inclusive social interaction through land, water and people.”

In the spirit of embracing BTVStat as a tool to examine programming through both an equity and performance lens, BPRW took a closer look at who the City is serving through summer recreation programs. In 2018, the Recreation Division ran 102 Summer Programs (compared to 176 school-year programs) with approximately 2,500 unique participants. More than 80 percent of summer programs were filled to capacity, nearly 35 percent of all summer fee-based programs offered some type of financial assistance for participants, and cancellation rates were 8 percent overall with only three youth programs cancelled for low attendance this past summer. The Department strives to provide families at least 2 weeks of notice for cancellations.

This year for the first time, the Department tracked participant demographic data.[1] Of the more than 2000 summer youth program participants, an estimated 56 percent were Caucasian and 44 percent were people of color(roughly 35 percent of BSD students are people of color). When the Department isolated paid summer programming, 81 percent of participants were Caucasian and 19 percent were people of color.  While this data provides some insight into who these programs are serving, limitations in the data collection methodology make it difficult to accurately capture the distinct and unique subset of youth from Burlington’s other ethnic communities. With a newly implemented recreation management software program, CivicRec, the City team will be able to gather information in order to better understand accessibility and affordability of fee-based recreation programs. Visit the BPRW website for more information about Recreation Programs and Activities or call 802-864-0123.

 The Fire Department’s implementation of new technology to improve emergency response is getting results: The Burlington Fire Department aims to be responsive to the needs of our citizens by providing rapid, professional, humanitarian services essential to the health, safety and well-being of the community. In July of this year, a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system was implemented to help dispatchers determine resources needed for an emergency call. The system is helping efficiently allocate resources:  Even though total calls are up about 1.3 percent in 2018, the total number of unit movements is down more than 20 percent since the CAD system was implemented. This new system helps keep valuable assets free for other emergencies, allow for additional training time and opportunities, and reduces Department costs. The Department will continue to use the BTVStat platform to report out on the results of this implementation over the course of the next year.

Code Enforcement takes stock of the rental market’s compliance with Minimum Housing Standards: Minimum housing code enforcement includes maintaining an annual apartment registry of approximately 10,000 rental dwelling units, billing and collecting rental unit registration fees, inspecting rental housing units, enforcing minimum housing standards, issuing certificates of compliance to landlords, and funding tenant and landlord advocacy services. Over the past several years, Code has prioritized eliminating a backlog of overdue rental inspections, and this year will have completed the review of every unit in the City as scheduled.

With the Mayor and City Council’s support, the Department has also sought more efficient ways to consistently evaluate the safety and compliance of the City’s rental housing. Code now offers Certificates of Compliance on a one to five-year range, depending on the number of violations of the minimum housing standards uncovered in an inspection. This allows the Department to focus on problematic properties every year, until health and safety issues are resolved, and gives excellent properties a longer period between required inspections.

Over the past two years, Code has found approximately 94 percent of rental housing falls into the three to five year CoC category, while 6 percent receive one or two year CoCs. This breakdown allows Code to focus time and attention on the properties that are not meeting the City’s standards. For more information about minimum housing standards and rental compliance please visit the Code Enforcement website or call 802-863-0442.


[1] The Department followed the SOPARC methodology in gathering demographic data.

What is BTVStat?


The BTVStat Initiative was undertaken at the request of the Mayor to ensure achievement of the City’s strategic goals, to assist and then hold Department leadership and staff accountable for the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the services delivered to residents, and to provide the tools and resources needed to evaluate and improve City programs and services. The Performance Dashboard includes data about City operations and services, including financial performance, arts and recreation program participation, and street and sidewalk repair. With the Mayor’s focus on data and metrics to determine the City’s success in delivering on its goals, the Dashboard offers the public an opportunity to track the City’s progress, as well as to see new data illuminating the City’s work to provide efficient and effective services.

For more updates on BTVStat visit the BTVStat dashboard online.

For more information on BTVStat please contact Carolyn Felix, BTVStat Analyst (cfelix@burlingtonvt.gov) or Brian Lowe, Chief Innovation Officer (brian@burlingtonvt.gov).