FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 24, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

**Please scroll down below the press release for a copy of the Vermont Mayors Coalition 2018 Legislative Policy Summary.

 

Vermont Mayors Coalition 2018 Legislative Session Goals

Mayors Push for Important Changes Related to Opioid Policy, Mental Health Reform, Clean Water, Environmental & Energy Policy, Public Safety, and Measures to Strengthen Downtowns

 

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) today announced its 2018 legislative session goals and its commitment to collaborate on and advocate for these areas of common interest for their cities and towns. At a news conference in the State House Cedar Creek Room, the Coalition released its legislative policy summary for the 2018 legislative session, which includes:

 

  • Catalyzing Efforts to Address Opioid Use Disorders
  • Supporting Urgent Mental Health Reforms
  • Implementing a Common Sense Approach to Clean Water Funding
  • Supporting Measures Designed to Help Preserve Vermont’s Incredible Natural Environment
  • Reforming the Police Training Curriculum in Vermont
  • Supporting Housing and Downtown Tax Credits

 

The VMC was created in 2013 by Vermont’s eight Mayors. Six Mayors must concur on any recommendation for the Vermont Mayors Coalition to take a position. The eight Mayors of the VMC are: 

 

  • Dave Allaire, Rutland
  • Mike Daniels, Vergennes;
  • Liz Gamache, St. Albans;
  • John Hollar, Montpelier;
  • Thom Lauzon, Barre;
  • Seth Leonard, Winooski;
  • Paul Monette, Newport; and
  • Miro Weinberger, Burlington.

The Mayors offered the following statements about the issues of common interest they are collaborating on and advocating for during the 2018 legislative session:

 

Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon: “From Saint Albans to Barre to Brattleboro, Vermont’s investments in our downtowns and housing stock are paying huge economic and social dividends. Vermont’s Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit program has been an incredibly effective and efficient redevelopment tool for cities and towns across Vermont. An increase in this common sense program will yield even greater returns. In addition, as we all look forward to deploying millions of dollars in new housing capital as a result of the 35 million dollars housing bond, the Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program will ensure that the importance of investments in our existing housing stock isn’t overlooked. These strategic investments will ensure the availability and affordability of hundreds of homes for years to come.”

 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger: “Vermont continues to lead the way in fighting the opioid epidemic, but there is still much more we can and must do to save lives and turn the tide of this terrible crisis. The Mayors Coalition is united in believing that increasing access to the data in the State’s prescription monitoring system, expanding medication assisted treatment options in prisons and emergency rooms, and reviewing our treatment protocols will make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of Vermonters.”

 

Montpelier Mayor John Hollar: "I'm pleased to join with Vermont's other mayors in support of these important public health initiatives. Mayors see firsthand the need for policy changes in the areas of substance abuse, mental health and clean water." 

 

St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache: “Clean water is vital to economies and communities in our cities and towns. Pollution, particularly in Lake Champlain, is having a negative effect on the quality of life of many Vermonters. I’m proud to stand with the Vermont Mayors Coalition to protect our waterways and support the creation of a statewide Clean Water Authority to implement Vermont’s total management of daily load in a way that is effective, fair, and efficient.”

Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard: “Let us be clear that Vermont is competing for a piece of the modern economy and the 21st century workforce that is critical to driving our State's future. We must be unrelenting in our dedication to invest in sustaining and creating vibrant, livable communities where each generation of Vermont has an opportunity to thrive. The VMC recognizes the importance of supporting homeownership opportunities for Vermonters, creating financial tools for our village and downtown centers, and developing initiatives to improve our State's aging housing stock. These priorities are the backbone of our State's effort to be competitive while also doing it ‘the Vermont way.’ Continued investments in housing and economic development will ensure we are a state where our residents love to live, our businesses are able to grow, and our communities thrive.”

 

# # #

 

Vermont Mayors Coalition

Legislative Session Goals
2018 Legislative Session

 

The Vermont Mayors Coalition (VMC) is advocating for State action to support municipalities in the following six areas:

Catalyzing Efforts to Address Opioid Use Disorders

 

The VMC supports the efforts of the Scott Administration to continue the work of prior administrations and improve the State’s response to what has become the most pressing public health crisis of our time. The Mayors believe that specific changes detailed below are urgently needed to begin addressing this crisis.

 

  1. Expand access to the information in the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS).  Vermont should leverage the power of transparency by using our rich and comprehensive prescription monitoring data to inform assessments and decisions made by doctors, elected officials, public health professionals, government agencies, researchers and members of the public.  At a minimum, the VMC supports the UVM Medical Center (UVMMC) data transparency efforts internally and the Medical Center’s proposal to responsibly expand access to VPMS to allow for research to be completed on prescription habits.  Vermont should look to best practices in Massachusetts and other states to establish new standards for expanded access.

 

  1. Continue State efforts to restrict the over-prescribing of opioids.  The VMC applauds the State’s recent promulgation of new, restrictive prescribing standards and is encouraged by the early results.  Nonetheless, until definitive evidence exists that prescribers have stopped creating new addictions, additional controls should be considered, including:
    • Banning advertising and physician marketing of opioid products and related products.
    • Notifying the prescriber and the medical board every time a prescription kills.
    • Requiring all insurers to implement pre-authorization requirements for any new opioid prescription of more than three days’ duration.

 

  1. Expand medication assisted treatment (MAT) in Vermont prisons. The Department of Corrections has already implemented changes in recent months to improve prisoner access to medication assisted treatment. The Mayors appreciate the Department’s efforts, and believe that further steps are necessary to save Vermonters’ lives. Specifically, the Mayors call for the Department to take the following steps, and urge the Legislature to provide the limited additional necessary funding required to:
    • Apply a consistent treatment regime across all Vermont facilities that includes eliminating the 120-day limit on MAT treatment for individuals incarcerated;
    • Clarify and consistently apply a transition protocol, to include MAT medications and naloxone, for those departing prison with a history of opioid use disorder; 
    • Expand assessment for MAT eligibility to include crimes with an opioid use disorder nexus; and
    • Support a pilot allowing two Vermont prisons to become certified and accredited opioid treatment programs (OTPs) while utilizing best practice assessment protocols. Upon entry into a correctional facility (regardless of sentencing status), all inmates will undergo an addiction (co-occurring) assessment to identify diagnosis and appropriate treatment protocols to include MAT.

 

  1. Establish standards for immediate start of MAT in all emergency departments and supportive follow-up.  Such new protocols are being implemented by UVMMC as a result of the CommunityStat collaboration in Burlington.  Vermont should consider supporting this promising strategy for expanding the State’s effective Hub and Spoke treatment effort.

 

  1. Request a study reviewing Vermont’s short-term residential treatment protocols in comparison with national best practices. Vermont is a compassionate state that exerts great efforts to help those struggling with addiction. The investments we as a community make should be structured to provide the best possible opportunity for success. Answers to important questions, however, are not clear – does a less than 30-day treatment regime work well for addressing opioid addiction? What protocols or practices work best in other states, and does Vermont use similar approaches? What are treatment outcomes in Vermont, and do they differ from what other states experience? The Mayors believe that there is some evidence that short-duration treatment programs are ineffectual for opioid use disorders, and that the Legislature should task the Agency of Human Services with reviewing best practices, considering implementing changes based on this review, and reporting back to the Legislature prior to the next session.

 

Mental Health Reforms

 

The VMC believes Vermonters with acute mental illness are unable to access consistently the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.  Increasingly, the lack of adequate access to appropriate mental health care places our constituents at an unacceptable risk of harm.  It also makes it more difficult for our first responders and medical providers to protect and care for our citizens, at significant monetary and non-monetary costs to our cities and towns.  

 

The mental health treatment crisis is most visible in our hospital emergency rooms, where patients often wait days for an inpatient or other appropriate residential treatment settings to become available.  This compromises providers’ ability to care for these and other patients and families in need of emergency medical care. 

 

An increasing number of patients with mental illness enter the health care system through the criminal justice system, often after an encounter with law enforcement officers and a court appearance.  Those encounters carry unique risks and burdens to patients, officers, and court staff alike.  In the absence of an appropriately sized mental health treatment system, many patients are not receiving appropriate care.

 

Cities and towns are working hard to address the mental health crisis.  For instance, we are providing our first responders with specialized training and partnering with mental health treatment providers to make crisis counseling available on our cities’ streets and in our citizens’ homes.  But those efforts cannot effectively help the most acutely ill citizens who need a higher level of care. 

 

The Mayors support policies and investments that improve inpatient and other residential mental health treatment capacity for Vermonters in need, particularly those who have become involved in the criminal justice system. The Mayors call for:

 

  1. The prioritization of construction of a State-owned and operated facility to provide court-ordered mental health assessment and treatment to criminal defendants (a so-called “forensic facility”). 
  2. The temporary repurposing of an existing State facility while a permanent facility is constructed to address the inhumane, often long-term placement of the mentally ill in hospital emergency departments. 

 

Clean Water

 

In 2015, the State of Vermont passed the landmark Vermont Clean Water Act (H.64), designed to protect Vermont’s lakes and streams from excess nutrients such as phosphorus.

 

The Mayors strongly support the creation of a statewide Clean Water Authority to implement Vermont’s total management of daily load (TMDL) plan in a way that is effective, fair, and efficient.  The Mayors continue to support a target for State funding a percentage of each TMDL investment area and to believe a tiered per parcel fee that reflects each parcel’s usage and impact is the fairest and most sustainable funding mechanism to support clean water.

 

The VMC remains strongly opposed to the State increasing the sales and use or rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverage taxes, as those are already primary sources of municipal revenue. To the degree that the State continues to fund cleanup efforts through a real estate transfer tax, the State should strongly consider the use of a transfer tax assessed against the Seller, rather than the Purchaser. 

 

Environmental/Energy

 

During the summer of 2017, members of the Vermont Mayors Coalition joined Governor Scott and many leaders from around the State to launch the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. The Coalition’s goal is to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and to mitigate the impact of the Federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

 

Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses, and community members have joined the Coalition and in doing so have committed to reduce carbon emissions in an effort to help Vermont meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025.

 

In the spirit of this effort, the Mayors call on the Legislature to take two steps in 2018:

 

  1. Support a study of the Essex Plan, a revenue neutral proposal that would capitalize on the remarkable Vermont power grid and its renewable energy foundation to help the State reduce carbon emissions while lowering electricity costs.

 

  1. Prioritize continued investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, to make electric vehicle alternatives even more desirable.

 

Reforming the Police Training Curriculum in Vermont

The Mayors again call on the Administration to review the training curriculum, certifying exams, and structure of the Criminal Justice Training Council. Vermont has good reason to be proud of its police agencies and the initial training those officers receive at the Police Academy in Pittsford, Vermont. The Academy trains officers to serve a wide range of communities across the State. The Mayors believe those communities should have a voice on the Council that runs the Academy, and urge the Legislature and Administration to consider revising the existing appointment structure of the Council to give Vermont’s cities and towns a voice in the training their officers receive, given the unique needs encountered in policing Vermont’s population centers. The Mayors also believe the Criminal Justice Training Council should have a clear oversight authority within State Government, whether the Attorney General or the Commissioner of Public Safety.

 

Housing and Downtown Tax Credits

 

The Vermont Mayors Coalition looks forward to working with all our partners and with Legislature to expand our efforts to grow the economy and build strong communities. The Mayors call on the Legislature to:

 

  1. Support a $250,000 increase in downtown and village center tax credits that offset the costs of rehabilitation and major investments in elevators, sprinklers and other code improvements needed to make downtown buildings safe and accessible. Vermont’s Mayors have seen firsthand how downtown tax credits positively affect communities and entire regions. The State historic tax credit program is one of the most effective redevelopment programs the State offers – with every dollar of tax credit leveraging an average of $17 in outside investment. These investments have helped transform communities – supporting new housing, attracting new businesses, fostering business expansions, and creating good jobs in downtowns and villages across the state. We are pleased that the Governor is committed to downtown revitalization and is continuing to make investments to make them stronger.

 

  1. Support a $625,000 Homeowner Tax Credit pilot program to improve the quality and quantity of housing in and around downtowns and village centers. Despite the $35 million housing bond and the good work of many Vermont-based institutions to improve and increase the supply of housing in Vermont, there is a growing gap between existing housing availability and need. More public investment in homes that are affordable, desirable, and within a reasonable distance of work, schools or shopping, is needed to attract and house the young families and the workforce needed for businesses and communities to thrive. The Governor’s proposal to pilot a homeowner tax credit will show that strategic investments will help communities address this need by improving the quality and quantity of housing opportunities in and around downtowns and villages. It will also help improve an aging housing stock and aid homeowners.

 

  1. Support $125,000 tax credit increase for Vermont Down Payment Assistance Program. Vermont’s first-time homebuyers have long struggled to afford a home due to the ongoing disconnect between high home prices and wages. The Vermont Legislature added funding to the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit in 2015 for the creation of a statewide down payment assistance program to be administered by the VT Housing Finance Agency. This has been an invaluable tool getting first time borrowers into homeownership, however, due to higher than expected needs from primarily young homebuyers, demand for the program has been more than double the initial projections.  To continue serving this need, an increase of $125,000 in State housing tax credits which is a five year credit for investors. The repayments of the DPA loan, which are due on sale or refinance, will create a revolving loan funds for future assistance.

 

 

 

# # #

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

Mayor Weinberger Statement on the Governor’s Opioid Coordination Council Report

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today in response to Governor Scott’s Opioid Coordination Council Report:

“I welcome the Governor’s Opioid Coordination Council (OCC) report and the year of hard work that went into outlining its strategies to begin addressing this terrible challenge. Opioid addiction is the single biggest public health challenge we face not just as a City, but as a State and a country. It is taking an appalling toll on our communities, affecting the lives of everyone from those struggling daily with addiction, to their family and friends, to the first responders and treatment providers who work to bring many back from the brink of death. 

“Now it is the job of everyone involved in the opioid epidemic to turn the OCC’s report into urgent action. We look forward to working with the Governor to make near-term progress on many of the initiatives highlighted in the report, including expanding medically assisted treatment in prisons, creating much-needed sober housing, and increasing data sharing between agencies working on this challenge. This is a terrible and humbling crisis, but I believe there are changes we can make that could produce meaningful results for many in our community and across the State.”

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
01/11/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 3, 2018
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement on Macy’s Announcement
 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today in response to news of the upcoming closure of Macy’s department store expected in March 2018:

 

“Macy’s plan to close its Burlington store will affect many families within our community, and the City is focused on doing everything it can to help impacted workers transition to new jobs.  Fortunately, this announcement comes at a time when the local economy has many opportunities, and the City will work with the State and in particular the Department of Labor in the weeks ahead to organize job fairs and publicize retraining programs to increase access to those opportunities for Macy’s workers.

 

“It has been clear for years from the national retail trends and Macy’s recent closures of about 100 stores in other cities that today’s news was a real possibility for us in Burlington. In preparation for news like this, the City has been working proactively with the support of voters to keep the downtown healthy by beginning the transition from a suburban-style mall to a mixed-use neighborhood.

 

“The new mixed-use neighborhood already under construction adjacent to the Macy’s site will create 1,200 permanent jobs over the next couple of years and will ensure the longevity and economic vitality of Burlington’s downtown even as retail continues to evolve.  The downtown Burlington of the future will be even more vibrant, equitable, and full of opportunity than ever.”

 

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
01/03/2018
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

OFFICE OF MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER
149 Church Street | Burlington, VT 05401 | 802.865.7272

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

December 27, 2017
Contact:  Brian Lowe
                  802.735.3983
                              

Mayor Statement on 10-2 City Council Vote Approving Agreement with Schurz Communications

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding the City’s Council’s 10-2 vote approving a deal with Schurz Communications, Inc. to buy Burlington Telecom:

 

“Tonight’s tri-partisan City Council vote represents a major step toward final resolution of one of the worst financial crises in our City’s history in a positive and forward-looking manner.  The agreement approved tonight will, when fully implemented, return millions of lost dollars to taxpayers, give the City the opportunity for continued meaningful BT ownership and protections against future resale, protect important community values like net neutrality and privacy, commit substantial future BT revenues toward youth technical education, the local tech economy, and efforts to bridge the digital divide, and much more.  I am particularly pleased that the anti-monopoly and Smart City provisions the Administration has long advocated for are part of the approved agreement.  These provisions will ensure that while nearly 60 percent of Americans have one or fewer broadband providers, Burlingtonians will continue to enjoy broadband choice, and that Burlington’s local government will have an enduring opportunity to innovate using BT’s fiber to the home as we pursue becoming a Net Zero Energy City and other municipal goals.

 

“In addition, I want to say thank you again to BT’s outstanding employees for their years of hard work under difficult conditions leading up to tonight, and thank you to City Attorney Eileen Blackwood and outside counsel Ralphine O’Rourke for working exceptionally hard during this holiday season to get to tonight’s successful vote.  Thank you also to Todd Schurz and Schurz Communications for their partnership finalizing the agreement over the past month – I look forward to working closely with Schurz in the months ahead on the remaining steps in this effort.”

 

*Please see here for the Asset Purchase Agreement with Schurz Communications.

 

# # #

 

Press Release Date: 
12/27/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

OFFICE OF THE CLERK-TREASURER

 

UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM THE IRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 26, 2017
Contact:  Brian Lowe, Mayor’s Office, 802-735-3983

 

Clerk-Treasurer’s Office Addresses Questions about Pre-Payment of 2018 Property Taxes in 2017

 

Many Burlington property owners have been calling the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office asking whether or not they can pre-pay their 2018 property taxes.  The City of Burlington will accept pre-payment of property taxes for fiscal year 2018 only—that is, those property taxes for which property taxpayers have already been billed.  The City’s fiscal year 2018 runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Because taxes have not been determined for fiscal year 2019 yet and bills have not yet been issued, the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office will not accept payment for taxes after the current fiscal year.  So, it is possible to pre-pay your property taxes, but only for the first half of 2018.

 

Attached is a link to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ statement about the issue, and embedded in the article is a link to a podcast of a Vermont edition interview with Vermont’s Commissioner of Taxes that may answer some questions:

 

https://www.vlct.org/news/federal-tax-bill-and-municipal-property-taxes

 

UPDATE FROM THE IRS:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a clarifying advisory consistent with the information previously shared by the City of Burlington. The IRS Advisory is now included below:

 

IRS Advisory: Prepaid Real Property Taxes May Be Deductible in 2017 if Assessed and Paid in 2017

IR-2017-210, Dec. 27, 2017

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers today that pre-paying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.
 
The IRS has received a number of questions from the tax community concerning the deductibility of prepaid real property taxes. In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018.  A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.  State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed.
 
The following examples illustrate these points.
 
Example 1:  Assume County A assesses property tax on July 1, 2017 for the period July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.  On July 31, 2017, County A sends notices to residents notifying them of the assessment and billing the property tax in two installments with the first installment due Sept. 30, 2017 and the second installment due Jan. 31, 2018.   Assuming taxpayer has paid the first installment in 2017, the taxpayer may choose to pay the second installment on Dec. 31, 2017, and may claim a deduction for this prepayment on the taxpayer’s 2017 return. 
 
Example 2:  County B also assesses and bills its residents for property taxes on July 1, 2017, for the period July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.  County B intends to make the usual assessment in July 2018 for the period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.  However, because county residents wish to prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017, County B has revised its computer systems to accept prepayment of property taxes for the 2018-2019 property tax year.  Taxpayers who prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017 will not be allowed to deduct the prepayment on their federal tax returns because the county will not assess the property tax for the 2018-2019 tax year until July 1, 2018.
 
The IRS reminds taxpayers that a number of provisions remain available this week that could affect 2017 tax bills. Time remains to make charitable donations. See IR-17-191 for more information. The deadline to make contributions for individual retirement accounts - which can be used by some taxpayers on 2017 tax returns - is the April 2018 tax deadline.
 
IRS.gov has more information on these and other provisions to help taxpayers prepare for the upcoming filing season.

 

                                                                                                                             

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/26/2017
City Department: 
Clerk/Treasurer's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2017
Contact:  Todd Rawlings, CEDO, 802-652-4309

   Brian Lowe, Mayor’s Office, 802-735-3983

 

Mayor Weinberger, City Leaders Announce 2018 Burlington Housing Trust Fund Awards
City to Provide $310,455 in Projects and Capacity Funding to Support Affordable Housing in Burlington in FY18

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger, City Councilor Adam Roof, and Community and Economic Development Office Director Noelle MacKay and community leaders today announced the recipients of the 2018 Burlington Housing Trust Fund (BHTF) grant awards. Councilor Roof and Director MacKay are members of the BHTF Administrative Committee that makes the awards. This year, the fund provided $310,455 in projects and capacity funds to projects that will help create or preserve over 70 affordable homes in Burlington through Cathedral Square and the North Avenue Co-op and will support capacity at Champlain Housing Trust, COTS, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, and HomeShare Vermont.

 

“The City doubled its annual contribution to the Housing Trust Fund in 2015 without increasing taxes because the Administration and City Council believe that all residents deserve safe, high-quality housing and this is a powerful tool to help increase the number of permanently affordable homes,” said Mayor Weinberger. “We have worked hard over the past six years with partners like Champlain Housing Trust, COTS, and Cathedral Square to expand options for all Burlingtonians, including at the North Avenue Coop, the Bright Street Coop, as well as the new City Place Burlington, low barrier warming shelter, and Cambrian Rise projects. I commend the applicants and awardees, and look forward to our continued partnership addressing Burlington’s housing needs.”

 

"I feel particularly good about the Housing Trust Fund allocations this year,” said Councilor Adam Roof (Ward 8). “Important projects and mission-driven organizations are being supported and the community at large is getting a win. The HTF is critical to the City's comprehensive mission of creating and preserving affordable housing for those who earn a low and moderate income."

 

“We already have an inquiry list of seniors interested in Juniper House, where we will offer ‘Support and Services at Home’, which assists older adults in aging safely at home,” said Cindy Reid, Director of Development at Cathedral Square. “There is a significant need for affordable housing for our growing senior population. We appreciate the City’s critical support to help us build Juniper House.”

 

“Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity appreciates the partnership with Burlington Housing Trust Fund, which has helped us to build more perpetually affordable homes in Burlington over the past 33 years for low-income working families who live in substandard rental housing,” said Catherine Stevens, Advancement Director for Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity. “As an independent 501c3, we must raise all the funding locally in order to purchase building lots and build homes, and we look forward to building more homes in Burlington and all of Chittenden County with a continued partnership with the City.”

 

“CEDO is proud to administer a program that provides hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to support the retention and creation of new, affordable homes for some of our most vulnerable residents. We appreciate the support of the Mayor, the City Council, and our partners like Cathedral Square, COTS, CHT, and others in creating dozens of new units just in the last two years with the opening of new housing on North Ave and Bright St.”

 

Project awardees are:

 

  • Cathedral Square’s Juniper House: Awarded $188,174 to support the creation of 70 affordable housing units for seniors in the Juniper House development, part of the Cambrian Rise project on North Avenue.

 

  • North Avenue Co-Op (NAC) Water and Sewer System Design: Awarded $45,000 to design and build a new water and wastewater distribution system and road network for the NAC, an important source of affordable housing in Burlington that contains home-sites for up to 117 very low, low, and moderate income families.

 

Capacity awardees are:

 

  • Champlain Housing Trust: Awarded $44,781 to support staffing of operations, public education, outreach, fundraising, and engagement of public officials to ensure people in Burlington and across the region understand the need for more affordable housing, which helps incentivize projects and attract and secure resources to build affordable housing.

 

  • Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Housing Resource Center: Awarded $7,500 support staffing resources, supervision, and overall organization operations to provide homeless prevention and re-housing programming to 400 households annually (approximately 900 people) who are at risk of becoming homeless or who need assistance getting housing.

 

  • Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Waystation: Awarded $7,500 to pay for the day-to-day expenses of operating the Waystation and providing services to stabilize approximately 220 homeless adults.

 

  • Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity: Awarded $10,000 to hire an additional construction supervisor to supervise and administer home rehabs in Burlington, working with the CEDO office to review requests from low-income homeowners.

 

  • HomeShare Vermont: Awarded $7,500 to pay for outreach and marketing to encourage more people to share their homes with those looking for an affordable place to live.

 

Burlington Housing Trust Fund

The Housing Trust Fund award are allocated annually through a competitive process in which nonprofit corporations, municipal corporations, limited equity housing cooperatives, for-profit corporations, partnerships and individuals are invited to submit proposals for either the expansion or support of affordable housing. All projects must serve households having an income not exceeding 100 percent of median income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and preference is given to proposals serving households having an income not exceeding 50 percent of median income. Priority for funding is given to perpetually affordable housing projects. 

 

Proposals were evaluated by an Administrative Committee composed of CEDO Director Noelle MacKay, Ward 8 City Councilor Adam Roof (Chair of the City Council’s Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee), and Mayoral Communications & Projects Coordinator Katie Vane. This year, the Administrative Committee used a new application scoring system weighing the strengths of each application before a final meeting to vote on the awardees on December 4, 2017.

 

Burlington’s City Council approved the Housing Trust Fund Ordinance in 1988 to assist the City’s nonprofit housing organizations in building more affordable housing, and the Housing Trust Fund made its first disbursement in November of 1989. The BHTF provides grants and loans for the promotion, retention and creation of long-term affordable housing for very low, low and moderate-income households. The BHTF project grants go to projects that create new affordable housing units, while capacity grants are supporting the staffing, training, planning, fundraising, and ongoing operations of nonprofit organizations that are creating or preserving housing for very low, low, and moderate-income households.

 

More information may be found on CEDO’s website at https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CEDO/Housing-Trust-Fund-0.

 

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/22/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2017
Contact:  Diana Wood, Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, 802-865-7089

    Katie Vane, Mayor’s Office, 802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Reopens the Entire Northern Bike Path
Includes 3 Miles of Rehabilitated Bike Path, Improved Stormwater Infrastructure, Street Crossings, and New Neighborhood Access Points

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger, accompanied by City officials and community leaders, officially reopened the entire northern section of the Burlington Bike Path at Leddy Park this morning. Over three miles of the beloved Bike Path, from North Beach to the Winooski River Bridge, underwent major rehabilitation during the 2017 construction season. The entire Bike Path is now open for winter use. Because of the new pavement in the northern section of the Burlington Bike Path, this winter, for the first time, the Department of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront has updated its plowing policy and will be plowing the northern sections.

 

“Future generations of Burlingtonians will look back at these years as an era of major public investment – as a time when the City Council, the Administration, and the public worked together to dramatically improve and expand our park system, our core infrastructure, and our public spaces,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.  “This ambitious Bike Path rehabilitation represents the largest capital project our Parks Department has undertaken, and completes the long-desired restoration and improvements to the Bike Path in the New North End. I am proud to see the quality of the work, attention to detail, and careful consideration of ecology and accessibility that has been incorporated into the design and construction to dramatically improve this great community asset.”

 

The rehabilitation of this three-mile stretch of the Bike Path was completed in two phases and cost a total of $2.6 million. The northernmost segment, from Shore Road to the Winooski River, was completed in October and fully opened to the public. The busier southern segment, just North of North Beach overpass, to Shore Road, was closed during the late fall/early winter to minimize impact on users. The Department of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront (DPRW) managed the design and construction of the project beginning in December 2016, and was supported by a team of consultants throughout the process. The stability and continuity of this team, many of whom worked together on last year’s Bike Path rehabilitation in the Urban Reserve, built deep project knowledge and allowed DPRW to manage the project aggressively to maximize quality and efficiency.

 

“The push to rehabilitate began with the vision laid out by the Bike Path Task Force and our Path Improvement Feasibility Study of 2012,” said John Bossange, DPRW Commissioner and Parks Foundation Chair. “This ambitious goal was wholeheartedly embraced by a newly elected Mayor Miro Weinberger and expertly stewarded by a rejuvenated parks department. The Parks Foundation is very proud to have the Burlington Greenway project as our signature work, and look forward to continuing our support for the construction of additional pause places, like the beautiful spot that is designed for Leddy, and tackling the southern sections of the path from Perkins to the city boundary at Queen City Park.”

 

“As a Ward 4 elected official, a long-time resident of the New North End, and a member of the original Bike Path Task Force, I am keenly aware of how much the Bike Path means to my constituents, and the thousands of Burlingtonians and international visitors who enjoy it,” said Kurt Wright, Ward 4 City Councilor and Bike Path Task Force member. “Thank you Mayor Weinberger for his leadership, Burlington Parks Recreation & Waterfront and Director Cindi Wight for their coordination and prioritization of this project, and Parks Foundation and Chair John Bossange for their strategic alliance and successful fundraising campaign that made this project possible.”

 

“Today, as the result of the hard work of the City, the support of our local business community and the generosity of many, our community gets to celebrate yet another upgrade to our beloved Bike Path,” said Burlington Business Association Executive Director Kelly Devine. “It is both an internationally known recreational amenity and a key to what makes Burlington an amazing city. I want to thank Mayor Weinberger, Councilor Wright, DPW Director Spencer, John Bossange, former Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges, and the people of Burlington for their unwavering commitment to improving our bike path over the past six years.”

 

“I came into this midstream,” said DPRW Director Cindi Wight, who took over as Director in October after serving as Superintendent of Parks & Recreation in Rutland. “I have really enjoyed my involvement in this project and am looking forward to pushing on to the southern segments. I am an avid biker and a resident of the New North End, and am pleased to be able to re-open the path, what we now refer to as to as the Burlington Greenway, and present it to everyone in Burlington and beyond. This path does so much more than take you from point A to point B; it connects many of our beloved parks, provides access to people of all ages and abilities, provides pause places with bike racks, exercise equipment and places to relax, enjoy the view, access the beach and lake, it connects with neighborhoods and exciting commercial districts, and it is a linear park itself!”

 

Northern Bike Path Rehabilitation

Work on the northern portion of the Bike Path has constituted Phase 2 of the Bike Path rehabilitation, with Phase 1, from Perkins Pier to North Beach, completed in summer 2017. Phase 2 is the longest stretch yet completed, with just over three miles of full reconstruction from just north of North Beach overpass to the intersection of North Avenue Extension, and additional paving from North Avenue Extension to the Winooski River Bridge. Including Phase 1, the reconstructed Bike Path now runs from Perkins Pier to the Winooski River.

  

In addition to upgrading the paved path to the new wider standards of “2-11-2,” including 2’ aggregate shoulder, 11’ of asphalt paving and another 2’ aggregate shoulder, the project also included major improvements to stormwater and drainage, street crossings, and all neighborhood access points. This overhaul will greatly improve the life of the path and users will enjoy the improvements. The path is heavily used by commuters and recreationalists. Last year (from September 2016-September 2017) DPRW estimated over five hundred thousand users took advantage of the Bike Path. 

 

Some other highlights include:

  • Restoring long-lost railroad era culverts from the 19th century
  • Enhancing landscaping and stormwater management features that protect Lake Champlain
  • Working with neighbors and land owners to renegotiate right of way access that allowed for the new wider standards to go all the way northward
  • Addressing environmental issues such as wetland buffers, completing critical/endangered plant species inventory, and bat habitat preservation

 

Future work on the Burlington Bike Path

Next spring, crews will complete the top coat of asphalt on Phase 2b, paint the lines and finish any last touches of landscaping. Next summer plans include the creation of new Pause Places at Leddy Park and North Shore, which include additional fitness equipment as part of the UVM Medical Center Fitness Trail. The North Beach – Shore Road segment will close for a short window in May 2018 to allow contractors to put the finishing touches on the multi-use path in time for the Vermont City Marathon on May 29

 

Designs for Phase 3 (from Perkins Pier through Oakledge Park) will be developed in 2018 and construction for a large portion of that project will take place in the 2019 construction season.

  

For complete details about the project go to https://enjoyburlington.com/burlington-greenway-phase-2/

 

Sign up for the special Bike Path email list to be notified of project updates.

 

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/20/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 19, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement on Settlement with ACLU of Vermont

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today regarding the City of Burlington’s settlement with the ACLU of Vermont.

 

The City is committed to all residents having the safe and high quality housing they deserve. 184 Church Street has fallen far short of this standard for years, and has been the ongoing focus of Code Enforcement action as a result.

 

“In this unusual instance, the landlord chose to start eviction proceedings rather than address the problems raised by the City. This was not the outcome the City was seeking. To prevent something like this from happening again, and to bolster our historically strong tenant protection policies, the City is working with the ACLU of Vermont to improve our tenant notification procedures.”  

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/19/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2017
Contact:  Gillian Nanton, CEDO, 802-865-7179

                 Diana Colangelo, CEDO, 617-447-7905
                 Katie Vane, Mayor’s Office, 802-734-0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Announces Winners of First Mayor’s Prize to Support Entrepreneurship
In Partnership with Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, City Awards $200,000 in First Year of Two-Year Competition

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Weinberger today announced the winners of the first Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, launched in early October to increase support for entrepreneurs in the City of Burlington. Collectively, the winning organizations provide a broad range of support services and work with a diverse mix of entrepreneurs. The top four prize winners are:

 

  • The Center for Women and Enterprise: Awarded $55,000 to launch a new initiative, Power Forward, an accelerator program to support high growth women-owned firms across all sectors.

 

  • BTV Ignite: Awarded $50,000 to fund a new initiative, BTV Ignite Growth Acceleration Program, that will focus on providing high-quality independent specialized advisory and development support to “growth stage” companies with a digital or technology focus.

 

  • Vermont Law School: Awarded $50,000 to help fund a program that provides free or low-cost legal services to startup and emerging companies in Burlington, with a focus on sustainable or green businesses striving to reach a “triple bottom line” related to social, environmental and financial outcomes.

 

  • Women’s Small Business Program: Awarded $45,000 to expand their existing program to better support and engage their alumni network, strengthen their entrepreneurial team to enhance support to entrepreneurs and allow for new, innovative programs.

 

“I am proud to announce the winners of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship to four diverse organizations that will help local entrepreneurs succeed and make Burlington their home,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.  “I am particularly excited that two of the groups support women-owned businesses. Creating more women-owned businesses is critical for achieving gender pay equity and is a huge economic development opportunity for Vermont.”
 

As noted in the 2016 Change the Story Status Report, women-owned businesses generate 9 percent of gross revenues and employ 12 percent of workers in privately-held Vermont firms. If women were to choose business ownership at the same rate as men, it would result in more than 10,500 new businesses.

 

“CEDO was delighted to partner with the Kauffman Foundation on the Mayor’s Prize,” said Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) Director Noelle MacKay. “These grant funds provide support to Burlington’s entrepreneurs and will help them up their game and spur even greater innovation and economic activity.”

 

The Mayor’s Prize was a competitive process where entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) that serve Burlington entrepreneurs were invited to submit proposals for either the expansion of a successful program or to support the creation of a new, innovative program that addresses the needs of entrepreneurs. Proposals were evaluated by a Judging Committee comprised of seven people with expertise in various entrepreneurship-related fields and drawn from local and national organizations.  Judging Committee members were:

 

  • Justin Wicks, Chief Financial Officer, VENTURE.co (Burlington, VT)
  • Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire, Managing Director for Performance and Results, Living Cities, (Washington, D.C.)
  • Greg Huysman, Senior Business Development Manager, Opportunities Credit Union, (Winooski, VT)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Mack, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
  • Paul J. Corson, Director of Entrepreneurship, University of Utah, (Park City, UT)
  • Brooke Gillman, Managing Director, Marketing and Communication, eSecLending (Burlington, VT)
  • Gillian Nanton, Assistant Director, Sustainability, Housing & Economic Development, Community and Economic Development Office (Burlington, VT)

 

Mayor’s Prize Award

The Mayor’s Prize will award at least $100,000 to entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) next fall in a second funding round. The goal of the Mayor’s Prize is to foster the growth and development of entrepreneurship in the city and encourage outside-the-box thinking about how best to achieve this. The Mayor’s Prize is entirely funded by a grant from the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which has also supported the Let’s Talk Progress speaker series.

 

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private foundation established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, and is based in Kansas City, MO.  The Foundation works in the areas of entrepreneurship and education.  In 2015, the City of Burlington was chosen as one of two cities for the Kauffman Foundation’s Metro Strategy initiative, a pilot project which sought to work cooperatively with two communities in the country to develop a strategy that would improve conditions for entrepreneurial growth in those communities and bring up to $500,000 in programmatic grant-making. As part of this initiative, Kauffman Program Officers visited Burlington several times over the ensuing months and conducted a landscape analysis of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

 

Based on this analysis, the “Let’s Talk Progress” speaker series was launched by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce with funding from Kauffman in June 2017, and the Foundation worked with CEDO on a strategy for disbursing the remainder of the grant funds in a transparent, competitive, and equitable manner, which resulted in the Mayor’s Prize. This competition is based on a similar model in Albuquerque.  

 

More information may be found on CEDO’s website at www.burlingtonvt.gov/CEDO

 

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/14/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement On Burlington’s Response to Department of Justice’s “Sanctuary City” Letter

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today regarding the City of Burlington’s response to the Department of Justice’s letter asserting that Burlington’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy may violate 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a section of federal law addressing immigration status information.

 

“We are a welcoming and a law-abiding City that draws strength from its diversity and celebrates the progress our nation has made to become more welcoming and inclusive to all,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We have a responsibility to uphold and advance further that progress. Contrary to the opinions asserted in the Department of Justice letter, we believe the Burlington Police Department is in compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, and we continue to believe that federal law does not require us to implement the President’s misguided civil immigration policies. We have made that case forcefully in the letter we returned to the Department of Justice today.”

  

* Please see the City of Burlington’s response to the Department of Justice letter

 

Press Release Date: 
12/08/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

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