FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 28, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement in Support of S. 166, a Bill to Improve Incarcerated Vermonters’ Access to Opioid Treatment in Prison
 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today released the following statement in support of S. 166, a bill that would vastly improve how those struggling with opioid addictions are assessed and treated in prisons across Vermont:
 

“The number of Vermonters and Americans dying of opioid overdoses is intolerable. Too often, these deaths come soon after individuals suffering from powerful addictions are released from prison. S.166, a bill which will soon be before the Vermont Senate, will help many Vermonters get into treatment that allows them to rebuild their lives. I strongly support its passage this session in its current form. 

 

“In addition to my personal support, two groups that I serve with, the Vermont Mayor’s Coalition and the Chittenden County Opioid Alliance, also strongly support prompt passage of this bill. I would also like to thank Vermonters for Justice in Criminal Reform’s Executive Director Tom Dalton, who has been a committed partner in this effort to re-envision how Vermont’s prison system can help us address a terrible challenge that has killed hundreds of Vermonters and badly hurt thousands more in just the last several years.”

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Press Release Date: 
02/28/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement on Monday Morning Shooting
 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today released the following statement in response to the shooting in Burlington on Monday, February 26, 2018:
 

“I was deeply troubled to learn of this early morning’s shooting, and have been in touch with Chief del Pozo as the investigation of the incident has continued. The suspect, who has ties to drug trafficking in Vermont, and who was intoxicated at the time of the event, is now in custody. I am grateful for the rapid response of the Burlington Police officers who ran toward the sound of gunfire and immediately apprehended the alleged shooter, and for the quick response of the Burlington Fire Department, which provided emergency medical support to the victim. My thoughts are with the victim of the shooting, the victim’s family, and all those impacted by this violence.

 

“This act of violence, though rare in Burlington, is intolerable. This morning’s event is a reminder of the importance of Burlington’s own efforts to protect its residents from gun violence. Several years ago, Burlington voters voted overwhelmingly in support of a charter change that would prohibit guns in bars, a commonsense measure that has languished in Montpelier ever since, despite repeated advocacy for it from Burlington’s elected representatives in the City and in the Legislature.

 

“Last week, Governor Scott and State legislators demonstrated leadership by taking new, much-needed steps toward commonsense gun reform. As Montpelier considers a broad array of new reforms, statewide prohibition of guns from bars should be considered. At the time of the City’s last testimony to the House Government Operations Committee, such prohibitions were the law in 16 states, including rural states such as Alaska, Texas, Wyoming, and North Dakota. Guns and alcohol don’t mix well.  I urge State leaders to look carefully at crafting comparable legislation for Vermont to make shootings like the one that happened in Burlington early this morning less likely.”
 

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Press Release Date: 
02/26/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Vermont Mayors Respond to Governor Scott and Legislators’ Support of Commonsense Gun Reforms
Mayors Note Past and Current VMC Support for Universal Background Checks and Other Measures to Protect All Vermonters

 

Montpelier, VT – Today, Vermont Mayors issued statements welcoming Governor Scott and legislators’ support of commonsense gun reforms. Since 2013, the Vermont Mayors Coalition has supported a number of proposed commonsense gun reforms to ensure the safety of all Vermonters. These reforms have included:
 

  • Urging state lawmakers to require universal background checks for all gun sales.
  • Calling for notification of Vermont law enforcement agencies when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a firearm.
  • Supporting Burlington’s right to take the steps the City felt were necessary to protect public safety.
  • Enacting a State law prohibiting a felon from possessing a firearm so that such an offense may be prosecuted under State law in addition to federal law. 

The VMC urges Montpelier leaders to consider all of these anew as part of their new consideration of gun reforms.
 

The Mayors offered the following statements noting their appreciation for the Governor and legislators’ leadership on this issue:
 

Montpelier Mayor John Hollar: “We can’t continue to ignore the reality that the easy availability of firearms puts our children at risk. We are not meeting our obligations as adults and leaders to keep them safe. I applaud the Governor and legislative leaders for having the courage to consider sensible legislation to make our schools and communities safer.”

 

St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache: “Our children are making it abundantly clear – our inability to move beyond the status quo is not acceptable. We must be open to moving beyond partisan positions and corporate interests to have the difficult conversations that will lead to effective policy changes that will keep our schools and communities safer.”
 

Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon: “As a long-time supporter of universal background checks, I am hopeful that we can pass commonsense legislation that respects law-abiding gun owners, but restricts access for those who should not own or possess a weapon due to a violent past or a mental health issue.”
 

Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard: “It is time to ignore the slippery slope argument on the most basic and sensible policies regarding background checks, shared information between agencies, and commonsense prohibition in clear-cut cases where the threat to public safety is evident. We need to take immediate action in Vermont to ensure our laws strike a better balance between protecting individual freedoms and supporting policies that address concerns in an extremely sensible way.”
 

Newport Mayor Paul Monette: “With yet another senseless school massacre in Parkland, Florida, we must enact commonsense gun laws which will keep firearms out of the hands of mentally ill people. We must enact universal background checks, improve reporting among states, and most importantly, improve school security. It is sad that it takes a tragedy to once again have discussions on this controversial topic, but maybe this time, with our youth speaking up, change will occur and we can all work together for a solution.”
 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger: “Yesterday’s announcements represented a breakthrough after years of stalemate. This progress is a testament to the power of the many young Vermonters who made their voices heard loud and clear in recent days, and to the willingness of our State leaders to listen and to act. I welcome and appreciate the new support for commonsense gun reforms announced today by the Governor and Democratic leaders. I look forward to working with them to implement these and other measures to ensure the safety of our children, and all Vermonters.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
02/23/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 22, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Response to Today’s Announcements about Gun Reforms
 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Weinberger today released the following statement in response to Governor Scott and Democratic leaders’ announcements about gun reforms:

 

“Today’s announcements represent a breakthrough after years of stalemate. This progress is a testament to the power of the many young Vermonters who made their voices heard loud and clear in recent days, and to the willingness of our State leaders to listen and to act. I welcome and appreciate the new support for commonsense gun reforms announced today by the Governor and Democratic leaders. I look forward to working with them to implement these and other measures to ensure the safety of our children, and all Vermonters.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
02/22/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 20, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Remarks from Vermont Statehouse Rally Supporting Commonsense Gun Reforms

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today released the remarks he gave at the Vermont Statehouse rally organized by GunSense Vermont on Tuesday, February 20, 2018:

“Thank you GunSense Vermont for organizing today’s rally. It feels hopeful to be standing with so many of you this morning, and particularly to be standing with our kids and children, who have been so eloquent on this issue. That, I hope, is what will finally change this terrible dynamic and lead to action. I have been walking this sometimes lonely road toward commonsense gun reform since my first year as mayor, and I will tell you it feels much less lonely today.

“The shooting in Parkland, Florida last week was the eighteenth school shooting in the United States in 35 days. In the rest of the world, there have been 18 school shootings in last 20 years. We are failing at the most basic responsibility of protecting our children.* The rest of the world simply does not tolerate this kind of massacre of its children, and the United States of America and the State of Vermont should not either.

“These incredibly tragic events are avoidable, but they require action. It has been more than five years since 20 six- and seven-year-olds were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, just a few hundred miles south of us. And yet, in the years since, virtually nothing has been done in D.C. or here in Vermont to protect our kids.

“We should now answer our children’s pleas for help. Today is a new day and we have another chance. It is time for Vermont to join dozens of other states and pass universal background checks.  If Montpelier can’t or won’t get the job done, at the very least this Statehouse should allow cities and towns that want to move forward on their own to protect our children, our domestic violence victims and our police officers. We should be allowed to take responsibility and do that as our own communities. It is way past time to take strong action to protect our children.”

This statistic came from TV journalist and author Jeff Greenfield. We became aware late this afternoon that this statistic is misleading. See the PolitiFact analysis here.

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Press Release Date: 
02/20/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement in Response to Parkland, Florida School Shooting
 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today offered his response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida:

 

“The school shooting in Parkland, Florida again demonstrates the deeply tragic and unacceptable inadequacy of the nation’s and Vermont’s gun laws. No other nation on earth tolerates these unbearable massacres and America should not, either. For over five years, since the slayings in Newtown, Connecticut, Vermont mayors have called on the legislature to pass universal background checks and prohibit military-style assault weapons like the one used to take 17 lives in Parkland. To date, virtually nothing has been done in Montpelier on the issue. Even modest steps towards common-sense gun safety at the local level, which had the support of a huge majority of Burlington voters, have been blocked. Vermonters have long been leaders on the moral questions of our times. We must lead on common-sense gun safety as well.”

 

 

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Press Release Date: 
02/16/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 9, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Offers Condolences to Family of Antonio “Tony” Pomerleau; Celebrates Tony Pomerleau’s Life and Contributions to Burlington

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today offered his condolences to the family of Antonio ”Tony” Pomerleau and celebrated Tony Pomerleau’s long, remarkable life and many contributions to Burlington:

 

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tony Pomerleau. My heart and thoughts go out to his family. Tony lived a remarkable life, working his way up from a popcorn seller and potato packer during the Great Depression to become one of Vermont’s most successful business people and most generous philanthropists. Tony had an enormous impact on Burlington, both as a business person who pursued substantial ventures and made major investments here, and as a philanthropist whose remarkable generosity benefited our Burlington Police Department, as well as local organizations and institutions too numerous to name. I always admired Tony’s love of family, and enjoyed hearing about Rita and their children. And Tony created an even bigger family through pursuing one of his greatest passions – providing opportunities to Burlington’s children. Thanks to Tony, generations of Burlingtonians will grow up with greater access to after school and recreational activities. I am honored to have worked with Tony many times over the years as Mayor, and I will miss him very much.”

 

 

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Press Release Date: 
02/09/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 7, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

City of Burlington Reaches Agreement with University of Vermont, Champlain College for New Financial Contributions to City Infrastructure
Institutions Agree to Contribute Collectively $8.9 Million over 20 Years to Pay Cost of New Infrastructure Bond on March 2018 Ballot; Agreements Meet Goals of 2016 City Sustainable Infrastructure Plan

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that the City of Burlington, University of Vermont, and Champlain College have now all approved new agreements that include payments by the institutions to support the City’s 10-Year Sustainable Infrastructure Plan. The payments are contingent upon voters approving ballot question number 3 on the March 2018 ballot to support a new infrastructure bond funded by the agreements. The bond would pay for new investments in Burlington’s streets, sidewalks, and other core infrastructure as detailed in the City’s 2016 Sustainable Infrastructure Plan. If voters approve the ballot question, UVM and Champlain would contribute collectively $8.9 million over 20 years to cover all debt service payments on the projected $6.1 million bond in 2018.

 

“These milestone agreements secure new revenues for the City from UVM and Champlain College to help cover the cost of our sidewalks, roads, and parks that would otherwise fall to taxpayers,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The leaders and students of UVM and Champlain College understand that the future of their institutions are directly tied to the success of Burlington. I deeply appreciate their partnership in ensuring that Burlington’s core infrastructure is properly maintained and improved.”

 

“The University of Vermont and the City of Burlington have long enjoyed a mutually beneficial, interdependent relationship,” said Tom Gustafson, Vice President of University Relations and Administration at the University of Vermont. “The University benefits from a vibrant, safe, and well-maintained City that attracts students, faculty and staff; provides a valuable setting for volunteer activities and community-based research; and enhances the quality of life for the entire community.  Accordingly, the University will increase its long-standing financial commitment to the City, adding to the more than $1.3 million annual contribution for services provided by the City. In addition, as part of the agreement the University and City will improve the safety and environment of University Place, the street to the East of the University’s Historic Green. Improvements being considered include traffic calming measures, new sidewalks, safer crosswalks, repaving and greenbelt reconstruction that will result in a safer, improved streetscape.”

 

"Champlain has an ongoing commitment to partner with the City of Burlington to address shared goals, which is why we are increasing our existing financial contributions to the City to support the Ten-Year Capital Plan,” said Donald J. Laackman, President, Champlain College.  “We want to help ensure that Burlington thrives now and into the future as a place where people choose to earn a college degree, pursue careers and flourish as individuals and community members.  In supporting this plan, we are balancing our belief in the importance of joining other community partners in upgrading the infrastructure of the City, with our need for careful fiscal management to maximize affordability and access to education for Champlain College students.”

 

Details of the Agreements

UVM and Champlain College already make contributions to support the provision of City services in a variety of ways.  The new payments outlined in the deal provide revenue to support and properly steward City infrastructure like sidewalks, roads, and parks, and represent about 10 percent of the total investment identified in the City’s 10-Year Sustainable Infrastructure Plan.  The institutions’ new investment reflects the reality that these institutions both impact and value City infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.

 

The contribution each institution makes is proportionate to its relative operating revenues – UVM agrees to contribute an additional $386,000 annually for 20 years and Champlain agrees to contribute an additional $61,890 for the same timeframe for a total annual amount of $447,890 per year.

 

If the bond is approved by the voters on Town Meeting Day (March 6, 2018), these revenues would be used to pay for the debt service for a 20-year bond the City would take out to pay for infrastructure needs. The City would only bond for an amount that could be covered by the annual contribution from UVM and Champlain of $447,890. While exact market conditions cannot be predicted, assuming that amount for debt service and a conservative four percent interest rate on a 20-year bond would allow the City to bond for about $6 million, or about 10 percent of the expanded capital infrastructure investment projected in the City’s 10-Year Sustainable Infrastructure Plan. Of the $50 million Plan, the City has already bonded for approximately $36 million thanks to the support of nearly 76 percent of City voters in November 2016.

For more details, please see the Mayor’s Memo on the UVM and Champlain College Capital Plan Contribution.

 

Continuing Progress towards Sustainable Infrastructure Goals

The partnership between the City of Burlington, UVM, and Champlain College will continue the City’s progress towards achieving its Sustainable Infrastructure Plan goals, which include more proactively maintaining and replacing its streets, sidewalks, water mains, and more.

 

The City completed its first season of planned infrastructure improvement projects in November 2017, with a focus on road repaving, sidewalk reconstruction and upgrading the City’s aging water infrastructure along multiple streets. By the end of the season, DPW completed five miles of road repaving (compared to a recent average of three miles/year), reconstructed over three miles of sidewalk (recent average, just over one mile/year) and proactively upgraded nearly three miles of water main (versus decades of only pursuing reactive replacement of broken pipes).

 

The City will begin its second season of Sustainable Infrastructure projects in spring 2018.

 

 

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Press Release Date: 
02/07/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

City of Burlington Achieves Major Financial Milestones
City Council Approves First Clean Audit in 15 Years; Fiscal Health Report Details $12.6 Million in Savings Thanks to Credit Rating Upgrades; Financial Strength Allows City to Continue Investing in Programs and Initiatives to Benefit All Residents

 

Burlington, VT – At the City Council meeting on Monday, January 29, 2018, Council accepted and approved the City of Burlington’s Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) audit and management letter and Fiscal Health Report issued by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). These documents capture major financial progress over the past six years in two primary respects:
 

  • First, in January 2018, the City of Burlington received its first audit and management letter in 15 years with zero findings and no “Material” or “Significant” weaknesses. This represents a dramatic change since the City was downgraded to the edge of junk bond status in 2012, and received a FY12 audit with 27 findings, of which twelve were identified as “Material Weakness,” and one was a “Significant Deficiency.” Material weaknesses are serious concerns for municipalities because they indicate that a “reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the entity’s financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis.”  Such conditions can lead to preventable losses or waste of public funds, abuse, and inaccurate budgeting. 
  • Second, the CAO’s Fiscal Health Report finds that the reforms of the City’s financial operations indicated by the management letter and other substantial improvements to the City’s financial health have led to credit rating upgrades that have saved taxpayers and ratepayers millions of dollars. Of the six ratings steps that Burlington lost between July 2010 and June 2012 in the wake of Burlington Telecom’s financial struggles, four have now been restored in three upgrades over the last three years. These upgrades have resulted in total net present value (NPV) savings of approximately $12.6 million in current dollars (or $18.9 million in gross dollars over the terms of the bonds the City has taken on since the upgrades began) [1].  Of this total, the NPV savings for the Burlington School District since the credit rating upgrades began is $1.7 million. These savings will continue to grow dramatically each year as the City and Schools take on new debt in a period of substantial public investment. These savings keep money in the pockets of Burlingtonians and have helped make it possible for the City to make new investments in our infrastructure, public safety, parks, and social programs with minimal tax increases (the municipal property tax rate is only .2 percent higher in FY18 than it was in FY15).

Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding the FY17 management letter and Fiscal Health Report:

 

“The new management letter and Fiscal Health Report show that the broad financial progress of the last six years is compounding and dramatically benefiting the pocketbooks and quality of life of Burlingtonians. With our financial foundation sound and strengthening, the City is in good position to both continue to invest in core public infrastructure, public safety, and our kids, and to contain municipal property tax increases. I thank our CAO’s Office and Department heads for working for this progress day in and day out, and am grateful for the partnership of the City Council and Burlington voters in this effort.”

 

Karen Paul, CPA, Ward 6 City Councilor and Board of Finance Member, and sponsor of the Council Resolution adopting the management letter and Fiscal Health Report, stated: “The City’s Fiscal Year 2017 audit and management letter are milestone accomplishments. They are the result of relentless efforts on the part of many to see that fair and transparent financial reporting is the cornerstone principle in our financial processes. Our City’s financial health is strong. It is critical that we continue on this course, which I believe will result in seeing our rating restored to pre-2010 levels in time.”

 

[1] This figure represents total savings over the life of the new bonds issued since the City’s financial turnaround began in 2014.

 

 

* See Fiscal Year 2017 Management Letter and Fiscal Health Report

 

* See Fiscal Year 2012 Management Letter for comparison

 

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Press Release Date: 
01/30/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

Mayor Weinberger Responds to Attorney General Sessions Statement and Department of Justice Letter

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today in response to Attorney General Sessions’ statement and the Department of Justice Letter:

 

“Attorney General Sessions and President Trump can repeat and escalate their threats of arrests and subpoenas all they want – we will keep defending public safety in Burlington, standing up to federal overreach, and standing up for our values. The City of Burlington continues to maintain its compliance with federal civil immigration law section 1373, and categorically rejects AG Sessions’ false assertion that the City is in any way protecting criminals. Burlington police will continue to pursue the practices and policies that have made our city one of the safest and most welcoming cities in America, and we will resist the federal government’s unconstitutional attempt to deputize our officers as civil immigration agents. 

 

“The City intends to supply the additional documents requested by the February 23 deadline and will continue to fully comply with the Justice Department’s inquiries.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
01/24/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

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