Mayor&Rsquo;S Office

The State of the City is Strong, and is Getting Stronger Every Day

Neighbors -

This week, I delivered my annual State of the City Address during the City Council Organizational Meeting.  

After two years of delivering the State of City address virtually -- when we were living under both City and State emergency orders -- I was so glad to return to City Hall to speak, in person, with City Councilors and community members. You can find a recording of the speech here and the full text here. This newsletter is a summary of the address.

The state of our City remains strong, and is getting stronger every day as we work to recover from the pandemic’s setbacks.  

During the last two years, we have faced numerous colossal tests – the pandemic, months of massive unemployment, a violent insurrection, intense natural-disasters, and now serious inflation and a major war in Europe. 

Burlington has much to be proud of and grateful for in terms of how we have come through this period. 

Collectively, we battled the virus and kept each other safe, as well as any community in the country. 

We got economic help to the most vulnerable individuals and businesses in this community and avoided the mass closures that happened elsewhere. 

We did not step back from our climate emergency work -- we accelerated it. As a result, Burlingtonians now have access to the best financial incentives anywhere in Vermont, and some of the best in the country, to help get us off fossil fuels. 

These are all community accomplishments that were possible only because of the strength, values and commitment of the people of Burlington.  

And with each of these issues, City government played an essential role.   

My speech focused on a number of key areas: economic recovery; children and families; racial equity and justice; infrastructure; housing, public safety; and the climate emergency. 

Economic Recovery

Our work to protect our small businesses is far from over. In fact, for many businesses battling inflation and supply chain disruptions, the challenges may now be deepening.  

To properly organize us for the work ahead, we must make permanent the key business support innovation that we created during the pandemic.  The budget that I bring forward in June will formalize the small ad hoc economic recovery team we have had for the last two years into a new City department.  

Children and Families

Understanding the key link between child care and economic opportunity, our business support team took over responsibility for Burlington’s pioneering Early Learning Initiative in the middle of the pandemic, and has successfully expanded it. 

We have continued to make child care capacity grants and helped fund the Old North End Arts Center, which will soon be opening a new childcare center with 28 slots. Through the pandemic our scholarship program for low-income families increased 30% to 47 children, and over the next year, we plan to expand the program to 75 children. 

Our older kids need help, as well.  As amazing as it is that the School District was able to transform the old Macy’s building into a downtown high school in a matter of months, Burlington students need and deserve a permanent, 21st Century high school.  

Racial Equity and Justice

Despite the fact that we face a substantial budget shortfall this year that will require substantial cuts, I am committed to maintaining our ongoing funding for REIB at Fiscal Year 2022 levels in the budget year ahead so that we can build upon the progress of the past two years.  

With these resources and a rebuilt team, we will continue to reshape the municipal government of Burlington as an anti-racist organization, invest and innovate to eliminate the racial disparities in homeownership rates, and mount a sustained, multi-partner effort to eradicate racial disparities across the social determinants of health. 

The REIB Department does challenging and important work. Making progress on racial equity is not always linear, but I remain as committed to the work as ever. 


We are making tremendous progress investing in our infrastructure—even during the pandemic. We must continue to renew and enhance the streets, sidewalks, parks and public buildings that serve as the foundation for our community, our quality of life, and our commerce.  

When I first ran for this office in 2012 one of my central promises was that we would get stuck and stalled public projects moving again.  

I am proud that this summer, a decade later, toddlers will splash and run through our new City Hall Park fountain, cyclists will be able to ride a rebuilt and improved bike path from the border with South Burlington all eight miles to the Winooski River bridge, passengers will board trains headed to New York City from our waterfront for the first time in decades, and after thirty years of false starts, we will cut the ribbon on the completed first phase of the Moran Frame project.  

And yet, when I walk the streets of our downtown, I still see so much to do. 

I am grateful the voters acted decisively in March to provide approximately $50 million in bonding capacity for us to continue this important work. 

As has been the case since 2016, for the next three years we will continue to build three times our historic average of sidewalks, and twice the amount of roadways. 


We are making progress on housing, as well. We know our methods to address the housing crisis work, and now we have to double down on those proven strategies. Our overarching housing goal is to build a lot more housing in Burlington, because the only way to solve our housing problems, to make good on the promise that housing should be a human right, is to build a lot more homes.  

We must also lay a foundation to rebuild a police department that includes new types of professionals and partnerships. We will build a police department that looks like our community, and is better resourced and positioned than ever to keep all members of our community safe.  

Climate Emergency

We are changing the entire approach and business model of our more than 100-year-old municipal electric utility. The same team at BED, which you have trusted for years to help you with energy efficiency, is now ready to help you get off fossil fuels with rebates, technical assistance, financing support, and partnerships with local energy businesses. BED is not just your reliable power provider that keeps the lights on, but now can be your fuel provider for transportation and heating needs, competing for market share against well-entrenched incumbent oil companies.  

Here’s the thing about our Net Zero Energy goal – local government action will only get us part way there.  For us to truly become a Net Zero Energy City, the media, educators, businesses, and ultimately all the residents of Burlington need to understand the environmental, financial, health, and other benefits of electrification – and we all need to act on that understanding every time you replace a water heater, or are shopping for your next car. 

War in Ukraine

While we face real struggles and pressures in the year ahead, we are not living under the constant threat of bombardment that the Ukrainian people are at this moment, or experiencing the fear, uncertainty, and unimaginable disruption that the millions of women and children who have fled the country are enduring every day.  

Over the last month, many Burlingtonians have asked me what we can do to help. 

My sense is the best way for Burlington to help would be to repeat what we have done for thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia, Bhutan, Somalia, and other countries over the past 40 years – work in partnership with the federal government and aid agencies to serve as a refugee resettlement community.  

Burlington stands ready to aid Ukrainians fleeing the war when we are called upon.   

We will be ready because we are doing the work necessary to build a City where everyone is safe, where there is economic opportunity and support for all, and where everyone belongs. 


Miro Weinberger