Mayor&Rsquo;S Office

How to vote + a big week in Burlington

November 1, 2020

Neighbors – It was a big week in Burlington. In this newsletter, I share updates on how to vote by November 3, a breakthrough for low-barrier temporary housing in Burlington, a new initiative to support good indoor ventilation and slow the spread of Covid-19, and a partnership with VGS to provide the local match for the Airport soundproofing program. If you have any questions or comments about these items or anything else going on in the City, I invite you to join my weekly Zoom coffees (we’ll take a break this Wednesday, but be back Wednesday, November 11 at 8:00 am). Hope to see you soon.

Don't forget to vote!

Photo: VotingThere are three days left to vote in this election! I love the tradition of voting on Election Day, but this year I filled out my early ballot and dropped it off at one of the three secure ballot boxes that we’ve worked to install around the city. If you’re still making your voting plan, here’s what you need to know:

  • All registered voters in Vermont had an early ballot mailed to them in late September. Now that we’re so close to November 3, don’t return your ballot by mail.
  • Instead, return your ballot up until 4:30 pm on Monday, November 2 at one of the three secure ballot boxes that are located around the City. You can find the locations on the City website. You can also return your ballot in person at the City Clerk’s office until 12:30 pm on Monday, or at the Miller Center from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm on Monday.
  • You also can return your voted ballot – or get a new ballot – in person at your usual polling place on Tuesday, November 3, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Remember to follow the directions when completing your early ballot. For your ballot to count, you need to enclose it in the provided certificate envelope and sign the envelope as directed. You can check to see that your ballot has been received at
  • Finally, if you’re not registered to vote, it’s not too late. Register online at until 1:00 pm on November 2 or in-person at your polling place on Election Day.
  • Thank you to our hard-working team in the City Clerk’s Office for their dedication to making this election run smoothly, and thank you to Secretary of State Jim Condos for doing so much to ensure that Burlingtonians and Vermonters can vote, vote early, and vote safely.

A breakthrough for low-barrier temporary housing

Photo: Champlain Inn.Low-barrier shelters save lives and are a critical resource to protect some of our most vulnerable residents. We know this first hand: When I first took office, Burlington lacked a low-barrier shelter, and winter exposure deaths were something we experienced and worried about in this community. I worked with partners to change that, and since 2014 we’ve had a low-barrier shelter in the winter months. In March, when the coronavirus pandemic struck, the shelter faced a crisis, and the City, State, and ANEW Place worked quickly to relocate the shelter to the North Beach campground while we worked to find a long-term solution.
This week, we announced that long-term solution – and it's even better than what we had before. ANEW Place has closed on the purchase of the Champlain Inn on Shelburne Road, and will use it to provide free, temporary, low-barrier housing for up to 50 people in our community who are experiencing homelessness. This space will be Covid-safe, provide onsite services, and unlike the old location, it will be open year-round instead of just in the winter months.
With the purchase of the Inn, we've been able to take the great need presented by this global pandemic and leverage it to realize the goal of creating a low-barrier facility that's permanent and year-round, which my Administration has been working to achieve since 2017. Thank you to the committed teams at ANEW Place, Cathedral Square, and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, which funded the purchase of the Inn through an award of federal coronavirus relief funds. Thank you too to the City team who worked on this project and supportive South End neighbors. In this pandemic, we are working to make sure that no one in our community gets left behind.
Learn more about this project on the City website. (Photo of Mayor Weinberger and ANEW Place Director Kevin Pounds at the Champlain Inn).

Ventilation: A critical "slice: in our defense against Covid-19

Image: Breathe clean air.As the days get colder and darker and we spend more time indoors, the ventilation of the spaces that we're in – especially if we're with people who are not part of our households – is an increasingly important intervention to slow the spread of the coronavirus. When people are indoors for sustained periods of time, good ventilation can often make the difference between whether the virus spreads or not.
That's why this week, we announced a new initiative yesterday to improve ventilation. The initiative includes two ways to help small businesses, non-profit organizations, and other commercial properties – spaces where people spend time indoors with others – make investments in their HVAC systems: a microgrant program and a zero-percent loan program.
Why is ventilation so important? One way to think about it is as part of a "Swiss cheese" defense against the virus. None of our interventions is perfect, but by layering these interventions we can improve success. Ventilation is a critical layer (slice?) of the Swiss cheese. Head to the City website for more information about why ventilation is so important and what you can do.

VGS to provide local match for Airport soundproofing program

Photo: Announcing VGS partnership.This week, we also announced a new partnership between the Burlington International Airport and VGS in which the utility will provide the local match for the BTV Sound Mitigation Program. Through the partnership, VGS will use Energy Efficiency Funds to provide the $550,000 local match in 2021, closing the gap needed to apply for $4.5 million in federal funds. The funding will go to installing soundproofing and comprehensive weatherization at the same time.
I’ve worked for years to end the old program of tearing homes down around the Airport, and instead start a new program of using federal funds to improve homes – but until this week, the way we would fund the 10 percent local match for this new program was a big question. I was proud to stand with South Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle and Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott at the announcement, who have been close partners in this effort to find a way to secure the local match without impacting the General Funds of our communities. I’m grateful to VGS, led by President and CEO Neale Lunderville, for coming to the table with an innovative and impactful solution, and to the Airport team for tireless work to get here. This partnership puts us on a path toward making hundreds of homes in Winooski, Burlington, and South Burlington more energy efficient, comfortable, and quiet in the years to come.

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