City of Burlington, Vermont

City of Burlington, Vermont

City Hall, 149 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401
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Leahy, Sanders, Welch, Weinberger:
HUD Awards City of Burlington $3.4 M. To Improve Housing Health And Safety

(TUESDAY, Sept. 30, 2014) -- Vermont’s Congressional Delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) -- and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Tuesday announced a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant of $3.4 million to the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) for lead safety and to address home health and safety issues in low-income housing.

The CEDO Burlington Lead Program will be awarded $3 million in program funding, one of only twenty Lead-based Paint Hazard Control grant recipients in the nation.  CEDO will also receive $400,000 under the Healthy Homes grant program.  The funding comes from the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, which promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous hazards from homes, stimulate investment in lead hazard control and educate the public about the dangers of lead-based paint.  

In partnership with area nonprofit groups, CEDO will perform hazard assessments and perform remediation on 160 housing units.

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said:  “Vermont has one of the oldest housing stocks in the nation, which makes our commitment to reducing the health hazards within our homes and community facilities a top priority.  Lead, asbestos and harmful allergens have the potential to harm children and their families, and these risks are avoidable.  This award will enable CEDO and its partners to continue to eliminate these risks, while raising the bar for rental housing safety and quality in our communities.”

Mayor Miro Weinberger said:  “In these times of reduced federal funds for solving pressing local challenges, I am especially thrilled that Burlington was chosen by HUD for funding to protect children from lead poisoning and other housing hazards.  The fact that we were selected from among a large group of communities in a competitive process is recognition of the strong performance of our staff and our top-notch program that makes older homes safe for Burlingtonians.  As the father of two young daughters, it is reassuring to know that the City has secured millions of additional dollars to protect Burlington children from the terrible risks of lead poisoning.” 

Brian Pine, assistant director for housing at CEDO, said:  “This is a great day for the low-income kids of our community.  This funding allows us to continue making their homes safe so they have a better chance of a healthy and prosperous future.”

To learn more information about lead or other health hazards in your home, call the CEDO Burlington Lead Program at 802-865-LEAD.

 

Contacts:

David Carle (Leahy): 202-224-3693
Michael Briggs (Sanders): 202-224-5141
Ryan Nickel (Welch): 202-225-4115

Mike Kanarick (Weinberger): 802-735-7962
Brian Pine (CEDO): 802-865-7144
 

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Press Release Date: 
09/30/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

MEDIA ADVISORY
September 24, 2014
Contacts:  David Reville, AARP Vermont, 802.279.6748                                                                              
                   Mike Kanarick, Mayor’s Office, 802.735.7962   

AARP VT and Mayor Miro Weinberger Invite Community Participation in Active Living Workshop
Focus on Burlington’s South End and Pine Street Corridor

Burlington, VT – AARP Vermont, in partnership with Mayor Miro Weinberger and members of the City planning  team, looks forward to welcoming the community and the media to an Active Living Workshop to hear from Burlingtonians on their ideas and dreams for a more “livable” South End in Burlington.  Whether you bike, ride, or walk - in a "livable community" people of all ages and abilities can get where they want to go safely, and everything is nearby.  “The City welcomes AARP Vermont’s partnership around active transportation and quality of life issues and looks forward to this first of many public collaborations,” said Mayor Weinberger.

WHAT:                Active Living Workshop

WHEN:                Thursday to Saturday, September 25 to 27, 2014

Thursday 25th:
1:00–2:30 pm: Walk with Champlain Elementary School students focused on Safe Routes to School.
6:00-8:00 pm:  Kick-off community dinner and presentation on the fundamentals of livable communities by Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and introduction to the City’s planBTV South End project.

Friday 26th:
8:30 am: Registration and Welcome with Mayor Miro Weinberger
9:00 am: Presentation on Walkability with Dan Burden
10:30–11:30 am: Walk Audit #1 - Economic/Creative Hub along the Pine Street Corridor
11:30 am–1:00 pm: Lunch and Presentation on Safe Routes to School
1:00–3:30 pm: Walk Audit #2 – Champlain Elementary School & Residential Neighborhoods

Saturday 27th:
9:00-11:00 am: Presentation on the findings of the walk audits followed by facilitated discussion on next steps.
 

WHERE:             ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street, Burlington

AGENDA:           Click here for Active Living Workshop agenda.

**The media is invited to attend and cover any aspect of the workshop.             

             

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Press Release Date: 
09/24/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

*Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger signed the attached Executive Order and shared it with all City Department Heads to provide guidance to them and their staff teams on compliance with the Vermont Open Meeting Law.  The Mayor issued the following statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                  802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement on Vermont Open Meeting Law Executive Order

“Open, public meetings are fundamental to the functioning of our local government and the ability of the public to readily engage with evolving City policies, events, and decisions.  Last session, the Legislature acted to strengthen Vermont’s open meeting practices, and these changes recently took effect.  After functioning under these new rules for three months and implementing new City practices related to the newly-amended law, I have issued an Executive Order codifying these new efforts and directing all City Departments to take appropriate steps to ensure compliance.  Through vigilant, ongoing attention to the details of public notice and prompt documentation of City actions, we will continue and strengthen Burlington’s proud traditions of local engagement and participation.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
09/23/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

ADVISORY

September 18, 2014
Contact:  Kesha Ram, 802.865.7172
                 
Karen Vastine, 802.865.7185   

Mayor Miro Weinberger Invites Community to “Celebrate Burlington” Event
Herb Bloomenthal, Peter Clavelle, Herb Lockwood, Ken Schatz Awards to be Presented

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced and encouraged public attendance at the upcoming “Celebrate Burlington” event to be held this Monday, September 22 from 5:30-7:00 pm at Burlington City Arts, 135 Church Street, with a formal proclamation to follow at the City Council meeting in Contois Auditorium, City Hall. The City of Burlington will continue its annual tradition of recognizing staff and community members who help us build stronger, safer communities, advance our sustainability goals, and promote the arts in our civic life.

“This event is a special opportunity to celebrate the neighbors, community partners, and City staff who make Burlington a great place to live, work, and play,” said Mayor Weinberger.  “I look forward to congratulating our honorees who have contributed significantly to the fabric of our community.  It is particularly poignant that we will pay special tribute to Senator Sally Fox, who was a committed CEDO staff member with a great passion for giving a hand to those who needed it most.”

The “Celebrate Burlington” event will feature an evening of food, fun, and awards, as well as recognition of the important work done to keep our community safe, vibrant, and green. This year is the first time the Herb Bloomenthal Award for Community Activism, Peter Clavelle Award for Sustainability, Herb Lockwood Award for the Arts, and Ken Schatz Award for Community Justice will be presented and celebrated together.

The event also will include remarks from Mayor Weinberger, City Council President Joan Shannon, award nominators, and awardees. Attendees are invited to remain for the formal proclamation reading at the City Council meeting, beginning at 7:00 pm in City Hall’s Contois Auditorium.

 

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Press Release Date: 
09/18/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

MEDIA ADVISORY FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY PUBLIC AFFAIRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2014 [Advisory: 1402]

Contact: CDR Sarah Self-Kyler, Special Assistant for Public Affairs to the Secretary of the Navy 
Voice:    (703) 697-7491
E‐mail:   sarah.self-kyler@navy.mil

Contact: Mike Kanarick, Chief of Staff to Mayor Miro Weinberger
Voice:    (802) 735-7962
E-mail:   mike@burlingtonvt.gov

MEDIA ADVISORY

Secretary of the Navy to Host Ship-Naming Ceremony in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vermont – Media are invited to attend a ship-naming ceremony hosted by Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

The ceremony will be held from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 18 at the Lake Champlain Navy Memorial in Burlington, just south of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. 

A March 3, 1819, act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy's ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative which he will exercise during Thursday’s ceremony.

Ship names are conditioned by factors such as the categories of ships now being built; the distribution of geographic names of ships of the Fleet; names borne by previous ships which distinguished themselves in service; names recommended by individuals and groups; and names of naval leaders, national figures, and deceased members of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been honored for heroism in war or for extraordinary achievement in peace.

For more information on ship naming in the United States Navy visit: www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq63-1.htm

For more information on the Secretary of the Navy visit: www.navy.mil/secnav/index.asp

Following the ceremony, Secretary Mabus and Mayor Weinberger will be available to speak to media.

For planning purposes, media members are asked to confirm attendance with either Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler at sarah.self-kyler@navy.mil or (703) 697-7491 or Jennifer Kaulius at jennifer@burlingtonvt.gov or (802) 865-7272.

 

USN-

Press Release Date: 
09/18/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement in Support of 2014 Pride Weekend in Burlington, VT

“Since the year after Stonewall in 1969, Pride Weekends have played a huge role in the transformation of America into a country that is more inclusive and accepting of LGBTQ people.  We are fortunate to have the tradition of Pride Weekend being continued in 2014 in Burlington.  I encourage Burlingtonians – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allies – to take part in the celebratory and community-building activities planned for this weekend and next in Burlington by our local organizations.  Whether you attend Outright Vermont’s 11th Annual Fire Truck Pull next Saturday (9/20) on Church Street or the Vermont Pride Festival and Parade on Sunday in Battery Park (9/14), you will send a message of support in solidarity with our entire community as we work towards greater equality and acceptance for everyone.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
09/13/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 8, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962 

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement in Response to City Council’s Unanimous Approval of Mediated Settlement Agreement Relating to Browns Court-Eagles Place Project

“I am pleased that, as a result of the mediation session between the City, Champlain College, and other parties, and tonight’s unanimous City Council action, there is now a broad consensus in favor of moving forward with a major, mixed use redevelopment of the Browns Court parking lot and Eagles Club site.  This settlement agreement represents a major step forward toward much-needed downtown housing, an easing of student housing pressure in existing neighborhoods, new property tax revenues for the City, and greater downtown vibrancy and economic opportunity.”

*Please see the following attached documents:

 

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Press Release Date: 
09/08/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

For Immediate Release

Sept. 5, 2014                                                                                      
Contact:  Mary Sullivan                                                                                                                         
                 802-865-7417

Burlington Electric Department Taking Steps to Correct Billing Errors and Implement Preventative Action Plan
Recent issues lead to in-depth, multi-part review of customer billing

Burlington, VT – Burlington Electric Department (BED) Interim General Manager Neale Lunderville was joined by Mayor Miro Weinberger today to announce the discovery by BED staff of significant over-billing errors involving two of BED’s large commercial customers, the City of Burlington and the University of Vermont, as well as an under-billing error involving the ECHO Center.  The discovery of these billing issues has led to a complete and thorough review of BED’s metering and billing processes to ensure that the issues are quickly addressed, corrections made, and preventative measures put in place for the future.   

“After a preliminary review of the issues, we believe this is a confined problem,” said Lunderville.  “However, we have an obligation to our customers to ensure that these are indeed isolated incidents. That is why we have taken the measures to conduct a complete review, with the assistance of outside experts, to examine all aspects of BED billing processes.”

BED already has conducted a review of residential and small commercial accounts, which make up the vast majority of the customers, and BED is pleased to report that no issues were found.  BED now is focused on its review of demand meters for large commercial and industrial customers, the area in which the two problems occurred.

“These errors were avoidable and should not have remained undetected for so many years – our customers should not have to worry about the accuracy of their bills,” said Mayor Weinberger.   “Once these issues came to light, BED acted quickly and decisively to diagnose the problems, correct the mistakes, initiate a review of all other accounts, and communicate a detailed explanation of the issues to our customers and the public.  I appreciate new interim General Manager Lunderville's leadership of this extensive response.  I have confidence that our team at BED will resolve these issues and put new systems in place to prevent similar problems in the future.  Additionally, I have directed the CAO’s Office to lead a review of all City billing systems and to focus on our invoice processing practices as part of our ongoing, broad effort to improve the City’s internal controls.”

The problems came to light when BED staff investigated what appeared to be irregularities between usage and billing with two accounts:  the City street lighting account and the combined UVM Rubenstein Lab and ECHO Center account.  BED has met with the impacted customers and agreed on appropriate corrective measures – including reimbursements where appropriate – and implemented additional controls to ensure that the problems are not repeated.  Further, BED has hired KPMG to provide independent, third-party assessment of BED billing practices and procedures, and to thoroughly analyze BED’s systems to look for weaknesses and offer recommendations.

“This situation is unfortunate, and there never is a good time to share this type of news,” Lunderville continued.  “I want to commend the team at BED and extend my appreciation to the affected customers for their understanding and cooperation as we work to remedy these issues. We are committed to a thorough and transparent review of our processes and will take all steps necessary to help prevent this sort of thing in the future.”

Please see City Attorney Memo and Interim GM Memo, both attached to this release.
 

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Press Release Date: 
09/05/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 4, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger and BED Announce Completion of City Purchase of Winooski One Hydroelectric Facility
City Now Sources Renewable Energy Equal to 100% of its Energy Needs;
Facility’s Stable Costs and Power Supply Diversification Contributed to Moody’s Outlook Improvement

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Electric Department (BED) officials today announced the completion of the City’s purchase of the Winooski One Hydroelectric Facility, the 7.4 megawatt plant located on the Winooski River.  At a news conference at the facility, John Warshow, one of Winooski One’s former owners, handed over the facility keys to Mayor Weinberger.  Burlington now owns or has contracts with renewable energy facilities sufficient to serve 100 percent of the City’s electricity needs.  Moody’s Investors Service improved BED’s outlook from stable to positive based, in part, on the facility’s stable costs and contribution to BED’s power supply diversification.

“For many years, the City has sought to own this renewable energy facility on the edge of Burlington, and last March nearly 80 percent of the voters endorsed that goal,” said Mayor Weinberger.  “It is exciting to announce today that we have achieved this long-standing goal that helps our City make progress both on our climate action plans and our financial stability efforts.  Owning and operating a hydroelectric plant that feeds directly into BED’s distribution system is an important step toward ensuring stable, low energy costs for our customers.”

The City has worked toward Winooski One ownership and authority over its renewable portfolio for many years. After filing competing applications with the federal government to build a hydroelectric generator at nearly identical locations on the Winooski River, BED and Winooski One’s previous owners entered into a contract in 1991, stipulating that Winooski One be built by private owners and BED receive an option to purchase the facility after March 31, 2013.  BED then worked with the Winooski One owners to complete a fair market value purchase.

The July 2014 Moody’s report includes the following summary explaining the outlook improvement:  “The outlook change to positive from stable reflects our belief that the department will continue to reduce its exposure to the power supply market through long term contracts and diversify the power supply portfolio through the acquisition of the Winooski hydro facility.  The outlook change also reflects our expectation of stable or improving debt service coverage ratios and other financial metrics.”

“This purchase is exciting not only because it is a clean, renewable source of power, but also because it increases our energy security by protecting us from variations of the market,” said Neale Lunderville, BED Interim General Manager. “Knowing that our electric rates will be affordable for years to come because of power like this is welcome news for the business owners and residents of Burlington.”

A $12 million bond was issued on August 27, 2014. The bond had received unanimous support from the Burlington Electric Commission, a unanimous vote from the Burlington City Council, and more than 79 percent approval from the voters of Burlington this past Town Meeting Day.

Ken Nolan, BED’s Manager of Power Resources, added, “During the time the bond is being paid off, Winooski One power will be very cost competitive with BED’s other market alternatives. After the 20-year bond is fully paid, Burlington ratepayers will continue to receive power for decades to come, and the only cost will be that of operating the plant.” 

BED currently sells Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) associated with its renewable resources as a rate stabilization strategy. The entity that purchases the RECs claims the renewability from these resources. While the City transitions to renewable energy, selling RECs is one way to help keep rates stable while supporting clean, green, local power for the future.
 

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Press Release Date: 
09/04/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 26, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                802.735.7962
                 
Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement in Response to Issuance of Champlain Parkway Act 250 Permit by District #4 Environmental Commission

“Yesterday’s issuance of the Act 250 permit by the District Commission is a significant milestone in our effort to complete the Champlain Parkway, add to the vibrancy of the South End and downtown, and improve Pine Street for bikes, pedestrians, and cars.  While this is the first time the City has secured the land use permits it needs to construct the long-delayed project, as with any large, complex transportation project, much work remains from this point until the day we can break ground.  We will continue our steady and focused push toward that day.  We appreciate our strong working relationship with the State of Vermont and, in particular, with the Agency of Transportation – its assistance was invaluable throughout the permitting process.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
08/26/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

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