City of Burlington, Vermont

City of Burlington, Vermont

City Hall, 149 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401
Call Us 802-865-7000 M-F 8-4:30pm   Email Us

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Highlights Progress on City’s Quality of Life Initiatives, Invites Community Input on Next Steps
Encourages Participation in Upcoming Neighborhood Project Interactive Community Open House

 

 

Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger encouraged residents to attend an upcoming Neighborhood Project Interactive Community Open House on December 12 and highlighted the City of Burlington’s progress on longstanding noise complaint, landlord accountability, intoxication and disorderly conduct, and other quality of life issues. The City will be hosting the Neighborhood Project Open House in collaboration with the University of Vermont (UVM), Champlain College, and Preservation Burlington from 3:00 to 7:00pm on December 12 in Contois Auditorium to enable resident feedback on the City’s continued work in near-campus neighborhoods. The overarching goal of Neighborhood Project is to build on recent successes and develop with community input an actionable strategy and toolkit of policies and programs for neighborhood stabilization in historic neighborhoods. The Open House will allow experts selected by UVM, Champlain, Preservation Burlington, and the City to share their findings with the public and the public to weigh in on potential new tools and strategies that could help improve residents’ quality of life, as well as to suggest different ideas.

 

“Thanks to the hard work of our partners, impressive student leadership, and strong resident voices, we have made real progress and have seen a dramatic reduction in calls for service for quality of life issues by 42 percent over the last four years in the area having more than 25 percent student residents,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We have more work to do, and I am eager to hear residents’ thoughts about the new ideas that come from the expert review of national best practices to see what additional steps we can take to make our historic neighborhoods even better places to live.”

 

Neighborhood Project enters next phase
The Neighborhood Project is one of 22 proposals contained in Burlington's Housing Action Plan (HAP), adopted by the City Council in October 2015. The HAP called for hiring consultants to create a Neighborhood Stabilization Program known as The Neighborhood Project (TNP), an overall strategy and toolkit of policies and programs to improve quality of life in near-campus neighborhoods.  TNP is a partnership between the City, UVM, Champlain College and Preservation Burlington.

 

On Tuesday, December 12 from 3:00 – 7:00pm in Contois Auditorium, the experts selected by the partnership will present their findings to the public, and the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback on actions to enhance quality of life initiatives, including measures to slow down conversion of single family homes to rentals, actions to convert selected, primarily student rental properties to non-student housing while maintaining affordability, and to suggest additional strategies and projects that might continue to improve Burlingtonians’ quality of life in years to come. Community input on these ideas will be crucial in shaping the City’s outlook regarding the implementation of any of these approaches.

 

The Interactive Community Open House will invite community feedback on initiatives including:

  • Enhancing quality of life initiatives, such as (i) building on current renter education programs (ii) clarifying, simplifying and communicating the City’s existing qualify of life tools and (iii) reviewing ‘fair warning’ policies.
  • Containing and slowing down conversion of single family homes to rentals, with actions such as (i) more student housing on or adjacent to campuses (ii) creation of a property acquisition fund to acquire single homes that have not yet become student rentals and (iii) instituting an employer assisted housing program.
  • Converting selected primarily student rental properties to non-student housing while maintaining affordability. Actions will include creating a targeted rehab loan program and targeting program funds for rehabbing historic properties.

Steady progress over time

TNP seeks to build on some recent successes detailed below. Over the past five years, the City of Burlington has worked with UVM, Champlain College, student leaders, the Burlington Police Department, and Code Enforcement to promote safety and quality of life in near-campus neighborhoods. These efforts have taken a variety of forms, and in combination have resulted in substantial reductions in noise complaints, greater landlord accountability, and the growing usage of SeeClickFix as a tool for residents to identify quality of life problems and have them quickly addressed. The community Open House on December 12 will help the City get feedback on new ideas and additional areas for work.

 

  • Reducing Noise Complaints: The introduction of noise patrols staffed by Burlington Police officers and supported by a financial contribution from the University of Vermont has contributed to the steady reduction of noise complaints from a high in 2012. Between the 2012/2013 academic year and the 2016/2017 academic year, calls for service including noise, intoxication, and disorderly conduct, fell by 42 percent. Officer allocation is driven in part by data collected and analyzed collaboratively by UVM, the Burlington Police, and Code Enforcement.

 

  • Enhancing the City’s Code Enforcement effort: The City has also made a number of changes to its overall Code Enforcement policies and allocation of resources to improve services to homeowners, renters, and landlords. These changes include:

 

  • Improving practices and management to ensure that all Burlington rental units are inspected within the timeline required by the ordinance.
  • Amending the ordinance to allow Code Enforcement to focus its efforts on problematic properties by giving Code Enforcement the discretion to inspect well-maintained properties less frequently and poorly maintained rental units more often. Properties with major problems are inspected again in a year, rather than the traditional three years, to make sure issues addressed as part of the inspection do not crop up again.
  • Creating a tiered fine system so that problematic properties and renters will face escalating charges.
  • Identifying landlords with chronically problematic properties and engaging these individuals directly with sustained attention from Code Enforcement and the BPD (and having the Mayor, Police Chief, and City Councilors, make direct calls to the property owner to signal the City’s focus).

 

  • Enabling residents to “SeeClickFix”: Since the City launched its use of the “SeeClickFix” app in 2012, Mayor Weinberger and Code Enforcement Director Bill Ward have encouraged Burlingtonians to use the app to report quality of life issues such as potholes, graffiti, found syringes, or excess trash on the sidewalk using their mobile phones or computers. Burlington has consistently ranked in the top 50 out of the 500 cities that use the service. The City has 1,035, registered users who over five years have reported 9,351 issues. In 2017, users reported 2,801 issues, of which 2,401 have been closed. Issues are acknowledged within an average of 1.2 days and resolved within an average of 14.6 days.

 

 

* Please see more information on the Neighborhood Project and Open House here

 

 

# # #

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

December 6, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617
                              

City of Burlington Releases Final Schurz Communications Letter of Intent

Outlines Next Steps in Burlington Telecom Sale Process
 

Burlington, VT – The City of Burlington today released the final Schurz Communications Letter of Intent (LOI), following the City Council’s approval of the conceptual LOI at its last meeting on November 27, 2017. The non-binding LOI will be discussed at the City Council’s next meeting on December 11, 2017, and Council’s vote on the definitive documents that memorialize the commitments in the LOI is expected on December 18, 2017.

 

With the completion of the LOI, the City has begun working with Schurz Communications on the definitive asset purchase agreement, the legal agreement which will detail and ultimately supersede the LOI. The asset purchase agreement is expected to come before City Council for approval in substance on December 18 and to be signed no later than December 31, 2017. A petition for approval of the transaction by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is expected to be filed within 30 days of signing. The PUC approval timeframe is less predictable, but is anticipated to occur in mid-2018. During that time, the City of Burlington will continue to operate BT, and business will continue as usual without interruption. The sale of BT to Schurz is expected to close within 30 days following the PUC’s regulatory approval.

 

“Over the last week, we have worked hard on behalf of Burlingtonians and Burlington Telecom employees to finalize the conceptual agreement approved at the November 27 City Council meeting,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “I appreciate Todd Schurz’s collaboration over the last week to not only formalize what was committed to the City Council, but also to strengthen even further the proposal’s emphasis on the issues of affordability, net neutrality, and community re-investment. We will move from the LOI to the final legal documents as quickly as possible and bring them to the Council for formal adoption as early as December 18, 2017. After an important and substantive community debate for many months, I hope that the City Council and the public will now come together to support this direction and help us successfully put Burlington Telecom on a stable, long-term footing, and resolve once and for all one of the largest financial challenges in the City’s history.”

 

Details of the proposal include:

 

  • A purchase price of $30.8 million
  • Agreement not to increase prices on broadband for 60 months
  • Agreement to an anti-monopoly future sales restriction
  • Granting the City of Burlington the right to roll over cash proceeds from the sale into a minority ownership interest in the new BT, and to add a local Board representative
  • A commitment to net neutrality and a maintaining BT’s historic privacy policy
  • Commitment to the full, rapid build-out of Burlington and likely neighboring communities
  • $300,000 a year of annual contributions for at least ten years to growing the local tech economy, digital divide initiatives, and other community investments

 

*Please see the Schurz Communications Final Letter of Intent.

# # #

Press Release Date: 
12/06/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

November 29, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617
                              

Moody’s Investors Service Upgrades Burlington’s Credit Rating to “A2”

Cites City's Improved Financial Position, Sound Reserves Following Four Consecutive Years of Operating Surpluses; Affirms Burlington Electric’s A3 Rating
 

Burlington, VT – Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the City of Burlington’s credit rating from A3 to A2 on Monday, November 27, 2017 (please see this Burlington ratings table ). In its Credit Report, Moody’s stated that “The management team, in place since 2012, remains committed to improving the city's financial position.”

 

“This is great news, and another sign of our growing financial and economic strength. Like the two other upgrades since 2014, this action by Moody’s will keep millions of dollars in the pockets of Burlington residents and improve our City and school district infrastructure in the years to come,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “I am grateful for the partnership of the City Council in this progress, and for the work of the entire City team, including our Department Heads, who have continued to improve our public services while controlling expenses, and our Clerk-Treasurer’s staff for all they have done to turn around the City’s finances.”
 

Additional highlights from the Moody's report include:
 

  • “The management team, in place since 2012, remains committed to improving the city's financial position. The city adopted a fund balance policy in 2015 with which it reached compliance well ahead of schedule. In fiscal 2016, the city eliminated the material weaknesses found in prior audits. In addition, the city is adhering to a recently adopted ten- year capital plan that will address deferred maintenance.”
    “The city remains committed to improving its financial position and has generated four consecutive surpluses (audited 2013-2016). Management adheres to the fund balance policy adopted by the Council in 2015 which targets an unassigned fund balance of 10-15%. The city achieved its fund balance policy goal in fiscal 2016, well ahead of schedule.”
  • “The upgrade to A2 reflects the city's improved financial position with sound reserves following four consecutive years of operating surpluses, as well as the city’s strength as the economic center of Vermont (Aaa stable). The rating also incorporates rising fixed costs in the face of a somewhat challenging revenue raising environment, significant pension liabilities and ongoing enterprise risk associated with Burlington Telecom (BT).”

 

Future actions that could lead to another rating upgrade include:
 

  • Continued surplus operations and material growth in reserves and liquidity
  • Final resolution of BT sale

City Council vote takes next step toward resolving Burlington Telecom (BT) sale impact on ratings
 

The Moody’s report was issued Monday afternoon prior to the City Council’s Burlington Telecom vote earlier this week.  Moody’s notes in its report that credit challenges could arise from “Continued delays in the sale of Burlington Telecom,” and that factors that could lead to a downgrade include “Retention of significant contingent liabilities resulting from sale of Burlington Telecom.” Moody’s stated that “We will monitor the sale process and any contingent liability that may arise.”
 

The City Council’s vote to approve a new offer led by Schurz Communications valued at $30.8 million puts the City on a clear path towards resolving these credit challenges. The Mayor is now working with Schurz to negotiate in writing what the company verbally committed to at the November 27 City Council meeting, and to ensure the sale process concludes within the timeframe dictated by the 2014 Citibank settlement agreement.

 

Moody’s affirms Burlington Electric Department’s A3 credit rating
 

In a separate ratings report, Moody’s affirmed Burlington Electric’s A3 rating, citing a number of credit strengths, including:

 

  • “Strong and focused management working on industry transition, including ensuring utility fixed cost recovery through rate structure”; and
  • “Diverse and substantially renewable power supply resource mix, which mitigates industry challenges such as market price disruptions and carbon regulation.”

 

Burlington Electric General Manager Neale Lunderville stated: “Achieving a Moody’s A3 rating is a testament to the hard work of our great team – starting with our customers and extending to our Burlington Electric frontline staff and to City Hall. I offer special praise to our BED power supply and finance teams, as well as to our Burlington Electric Commission, for their steady focus on improving our finances, and to the entire Burlington Electric family for delivering exceptional service to our customers. As the Moody’s rating confirms, our continuous focus on strong financial management and on adapting to a changing energy market allow our team to lead on energy innovation.”

 

 

Global Long-Term Rating Scale
Rating Symbols and Definitions

Aaa

Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.

Aa

Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.

A

Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.

Baa

Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.

Ba

Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.

B

Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.

Caa

Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.

Ca

Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

C

Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

Source: Moody’s Investors Service Rating Symbols and Definitions, February 2016, https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004
 

*Please see the City of Burlington and Burlington Electric Department Moody’s Credit Reports.
 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
11/29/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

November 28, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617
                              

Mayor Weinberger Statement on Last Night’s City Council Actions to Select Burlington Telecom Finalist
 

Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding the City Council’s actions on November 28, 2017 to select a finalist in the Burlington Telecom sale.

 

“While I was as surprised as anyone by last night’s outcome, I am relieved that after weeks of uncertainty, the City Council has finally selected a winner that does not breach prior Council-approved Burlington Telecom agreements that would have exposed the City and taxpayers to another round of lawsuits.  With last night’s vote, we are now in a position to close the book on Burlington Telecom’s decade of financial challenges and achieve long-term benefits for BT customers, taxpayers and the City.

 

“I again thank the Keep Burlington Telecom Local leaders and committed volunteers for their unflagging engagement, which helped shape and improve the offers that came before the Council. I want to thank Ting for showing Burlington how transparent and responsive a company it is over the last few months. Most importantly, I thank our Burlington Telecom employees, who have made BT the growing, successful business it is today, and who have handled this challenging situation with great professionalism.

 

“In the coming days, I will be working hard on behalf of Burlingtonians and BT employees to negotiate in writing what Todd Schurz and Faisal Nisar verbally committed to at last night’s City Council meeting. I will ensure that the final agreement includes clear provisions regarding internet affordability, customer service, net neutrality, bridging the Digital Divide, and other items that reflect our community’s values. I look forward to finishing this important job for the people of Burlington in the months ahead.”

 

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
11/28/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 16, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Announces Selection of Vermont Birth to Five to Manage Early Learning Initiative Grant Process; VB5 Seeking Grant Applications

 

Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger announced that the City of Burlington concluded the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for a group to help manage the Early Learning Initiative grant process with the selection of Vermont Birth to Five (VB5). VB5 will manage the grant-making program in collaboration with the City’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), and the program will enable Burlington-based child care providers to compete for City funding intended to increase the number of high-quality child care slots for infants and toddlers from birth to age three.

 

“The opening of the Early Learning Initiative grant process means we are one step closer to achieving our goal of becoming a city in which every child has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of the means of their parents,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The City looks forward to selecting proposals that will begin the important work of expanding high-quality early care and learning options for children ages zero to three. By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier, and more just tomorrow. Thank you to Vermont Birth to Five for partnering with the City to lead this grant process.”

 

Vermont Birth to Five

An initiative of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, Vermont Birth to Five works to increase access to high-quality early care and learning statewide. VB5 will solicit and refine Burlington Early Learning Initiative grant applications and provide assessments to a Grant Committee that will ultimately make recommendations to the Mayor. VB5 has an expert staff focused on implementing early childhood education programs. The organization has dedicated a strong team to support this effort and has subsidized the cost of the work to help the City preserve funding for the grants to expand high-quality early care and learning slots in Burlington.

 

VB5 has published the details of the application process here: http://vermontbirthtofive.org/burlington-early-learning-initiative/. Information sessions for grant seekers will be held on November 27; VB5 staff are also available to answer questions. Letters of Intent will be due December 1. Full grant applications are due January 12, 2018.

 

Early Learning Initiative

In May 2017, Mayor Weinberger, Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, City Councilor Dave Hartnett, and many other community leaders announced that the City of Burlington would be funding the Burlington Early Learning Initiative (ELI) focused on Burlington children from birth to age 3. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, the City will invest $500,000 annually in a capacity-building grants program for Burlington early care and learning programs that provide high-quality care to low income children and commit to increasing the number of slots available for children birth to three. The focus on expanding capacity was refined by the work of an Advisory Board of providers, health care professionals, advocates, residents, and City officials that met regularly in 2015 and 2016 to sort through many of the challenges to providing high-quality early care and learning programs in the City.

 

Burlington’s ELI is part of a growing national and state movement to expand investment in children before they enter kindergarten. New early childhood investment is a major priority of Governor Phil Scott, as it was for Governor Peter Shumlin, President Barack Obama, and mayors across the country. Features of Burlington’s ELI include:

  • The program will seek to address the fact that low-income Burlington children are disproportionately likely to be unready for school, experience a widening achievement gap as they age in the public school system, and are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes later in life, including reduced educational achievements, higher rates of chronic health problems, higher rates of incarceration and drug misuse, and lower lifetime earnings.
  • The ELI will support the good work that many early care and learning programs are already doing by providing a stable funding source that can be drawn on to increase the total number of high-quality child care slots available within Burlington. The City’s research in prior years documented less than 200 slots available for children ages 0-3, with about 350 Burlington babies born every year.
  • The ELI will be rigorously evaluated over time. The program aspires to become a model for investments in early learning that result in measurable economic, health-related, social, and educational benefits that convince other funders to participate in affecting long-lasting changes.
  • In future years the City will attempt to leverage significant additional funding from other private, institutional, and public sources to provide scholarships for high quality early care to young children living in poverty to expand the impact and public returns of the ELI effort. A recent study released by the Vermont Business Roundtable found that every dollar invested to expand Vermont’s high-quality early care and learning programs will yield a return of $3.08 (view the full report here).
  • The long-term goal of the program is to ensure that all Burlington children have the opportunity to succeed regardless of family income level.

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
11/16/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 15, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement Regarding Department of Justice Letter Asserting That Burlington’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy May Violate 8 U.S.C. § 1373

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today regarding the Department of Justice letter asserting that Burlington’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy may violate 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a section of federal law related to immigration policy. As the Department of Justice reported in its press release, it is conducting this review as part of a periodic review of jurisdictions that previously certified compliance with this section as a condition of their Federal Fiscal Year 2016 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Awards. The City of Burlington certified compliance for its $40,000 Federal FY 2016 JAG Award.

 

“Today I received a letter from the current administration in Washington that I found concerning but unsurprising. I would like to share it with the community. We have long-anticipated receiving a letter like this from the current administration, which is why I called for a review of the City’s policy within weeks of the 2016 presidential election. We have looked at these issues carefully over many months, and contrary to the opinions asserted in today’s letter, we believe the Burlington Police Department is in compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373 and we do not believe the Federal law requires us to implement the current President’s draconian immigration policies. Regardless of who populates the administration in Washington, the Federal government has no authority to deputize Burlington police officers to enforce Federal civil immigration laws.

 

“We are a welcoming city, and will remain so regardless of Federal actions that seek to undo the progress we’ve made as a nation. We will be responding to the letter by the deadline and forcefully arguing our case.”

 

* Please see Department of Justice Letter to the City of Burlington

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
11/15/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 15, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger Statement Regarding Council Adoption of New planBTV: Downtown Code

 

 

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement today regarding Burlington City Council’s adoption on November 13 of the new planBTV: Downtown Code:

 

“The City Council’s adoption of the planBTV: Downtown Code this past Monday, after seven years of planning and inclusive public process, represents one of Burlington’s most significant land use policy changes in decades and an important step forward in reducing our energy use and climate impact.  Downtown residents and property owners now have greater clarity about what kind of investment the City wants to see in the years ahead, future buildings will be greener and better-designed, and there will be a clear path for converting parking lots and other under-used lots into job, housing, and cultural opportunities.  In short, we now have a zoning ordinance that supports the community’s vibrant vision for the future.  I want to express my gratitude to Andy Montroll, the Chair of the Form-Based Code Committee and the Planning Commission, for his skillful leadership of this effort, to the entire committee of Councilors and Planning Commissioners for their hard work, and to Planning and Zoning Director David White for his outstanding leadership on this important effort.”

 

* New planBTV: Downtown Code available here

 

# # #

Press Release Date: 
11/15/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 
Mayor Weinberger Statement on the Failure of Ting and KBTL to Reach an Agreement on a Potential Collaboration
 
Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding the failure of Ting and KBTL to reach an agreement on a potential collaboration:
 
"I appreciate that both Ting and KBTL worked so hard to find common ground over the course of the week.  I also want to thank former Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle for stepping into the discussions at the suggestion of Councilor Ali Dieng and working creatively to find a way to combine Ting’s impressive proposal and track record with the benefits of increased local ownership.  While I am disappointed that a Ting proposal to allow the co-op to own up to 20 percent of the new Burlington Telecom — in addition to the previously negotiated City ownership interest — narrowly failed to secure KBTL board approval, the effort speaks well of both organizations. 

"The Council deadlock over its selected finalists and the failure of the collaboration effort put the future of Burlington Telecom and the City’s related interests in a precarious and uncertain position.  I will be working closely with Councilors over the coming days to bring this challenging issue to resolution quickly and responsibly."

 
 
# # #
Press Release Date: 
11/10/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

November 8, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

 

Mayor Weinberger, Governor Scott, Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, Energy Action Network Host
Vermont Energy and Climate Summit

Review Coalition Progress; Assess Where Vermont Stands on 2025 Energy and Climate Goals; Share Climate Action Pledges; Encourage Members to Use Online Climate Pledge Tracker to Record Pledges to Reduce Carbon Emissions

 

Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger, Governor Phil Scott, members of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, and the Energy Action Network (EAN) hosted the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit at Champlain College’s Center for Communications and Creative Media. More than 175 individuals from organizations, institutions, and businesses all over the State plus student volunteers attended the Summit, which was promised as part of the launch of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition earlier this year.

The Coalition, created by Mayor Weinberger with Governor Scott’s support and coordinated by the City of Burlington, is intended to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and to complement State goals established in prior years. Together, Coalition members are working to help Vermont meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025, and to reinvigorate efforts to reach Vermont’s own more ambitious goal of achieving an 80-95 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent renewable energy by 2050. The Coalition has been in contact with the leadership of the Climate Mayors group, formed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, which is also a part of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, We Are Still In. We Are Still In seeks to serve the function the federal government would have played had the U.S. remained a party to the Paris Climate Agreement.

At the summit, the Coalition and EAN reviewed the Coalition’s progress, assessed where Vermont now stands in relation to its fast-approaching 2025 energy and climate goals, shared action pledges, encouraged new members to use the new, online Climate Pledge Tracker to record pledges to reduce carbon emissions, and pitched policies and ideas that would help ensure that Vermont meets its energy and climate goals.

“The federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was a historic mistake that has made the generational challenge of addressing climate change even harder, and that must be reversed as soon as possible,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “In the battle against climate change, the job of holding the line now falls to us – State, local, business and civic leaders. Around the country, federal actions have inspired local and state government to rededicate themselves to bold action on carbon pollution. Today in Vermont, we are proud to proclaim that ‘We Are Still In.’”

“The Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition continues to gain momentum and is making a real difference,” said Governor Scott. “It was great to join leaders from towns and cities, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations from all over Vermont at today’s Summit. Our strength has become exponential with the growth of the Coalition. My Administration looks forward to the continued partnership between the Coalition and the Vermont Climate Action Commission to advance our state’s strong climate change goals in a way that drives economic activity while putting Vermonters on a path to affordability without leaving any Vermonter behind.” 

When the Summit date and agenda were announced this past September, the Coalition and EAN launched the Climate Pledge Tracker, available through EAN’s Community Energy Dashboard,  enabling Coalition members to register and track all their climate pledges and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pledge tracker also is providing great opportunities for organizations that have never created a climate action plan to take significant steps forward. 

“This is both about improving the lives of Vermonters and about setting an inspiring and replicable model of a rural, renewable energy transformation for the other rural, middle-income areas of America,” explained Jared Duval, Executive Director of the Energy Action Network during the Summit’s opening remarks. “Together, we can do this. Let’s listen to each other. Let’s learn from each other. Let’s be inspired by each other. And let’s make the most of the incredible opportunity that this Summit represents to make sure that Vermont takes the high road to our renewable energy future.”

Types of Actions
The Climate Pledge Tracker offers more than 300 possible actions members can take, with detailed descriptions and the ability to create custom actions. One example of an action pledged by Coalition members is becoming a “net zero” energy institution, organization, or business, which requires creating enough renewable energy (or offsetting enough energy use with carbon credits) to equal or exceed the total amount of energy used by that institution, organization, or business across electric, thermal/heat, and transportation sectors. Such an accomplishment often is achieved through a mix of energy efficiency measures, which drive down energy consumption, and renewable energy production.

Other examples of actions pledged through the Pledge Tracker include: reducing total energy consumption; increasing use of solar energy; replacing fossil-fuel burning vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs); improving transportation infrastructure, like providing incentives for employees who walk, bike, or bus to work, installing EV charging stations to promote increased EV use; and taking steps to improve building efficiencies, such as improving lighting, engaging in building efficiency consultations and audits, increasing building insulation, installing ENERGY STAR appliances in commercial kitchens, and adding cold climate heat pumps.

As of early November, the City had collected 54 pledges and 173 actions by 23 organizations. Summit attendees heard from the leaders of the following Coalition members who already have made some of the most ambitious pledges: Champlain College, Casella Waste, Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, the City of St. Albans, and Vermont State Employees Credit Union. To learn about the details of these pledges, please visit the Climate Pledge Tracker.

“Today’s Energy and Climate Summit demonstrates our State’s commitment – with the help of business, non-profits, local government leaders and others – to achieve the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goal and our target of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 in Vermont,” said Jennifer Green, City of Burlington Sustainability Coordinator. “The Climate Pledge Tracker, found on the EAN Community Energy Dashboard, is the means by which we’ll track our progress toward and accomplish these ambitious targets as we further establish Vermont as a leader in climate action and renewable energy. If your institution has yet to visit the tracker and pledge its commitment, I encourage you to see what others in your community are doing or have pledged to do by simply clicking on their name—and to get inspired by your neighbors to submit your own actions and pledges.”

Joining the Coalition
The Coalition currently has a membership of more than 30 organizations and encourages all Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, and businesses to join the Coalition and do all they can to reduce carbon emissions. To join the Coalition and learn more about the summit, organizations should email Jennifer Green, Burlington Sustainability Coordinator, at jgreen@burlingtonelectric.com. You can learn more about the Climate Pledge Coalition at www.vermontclimatepledge.org.

Beyond the Climate Pledge Tracker
In addition to the Climate Pledge Tracker, Coalition members will benefit from a robust suite of easy-to-use energy tools already provided by the EAN Dashboard for municipalities, businesses, institutions, and individuals to help them make smart energy choices and track progress on how they use and source their energy (heat, electricity, and transportation) to achieve a more affordable, cleaner, and carbon-free energy future. Thousands of Vermonters already have used the Dashboard to set energy goals, take actions, track progress, map sites, share stories, and learn from trusted neighbors and colleagues. The Tracker further enhances these tools and enables Coalition members to set the pace of progress. 

  

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Press Release Date: 
11/08/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 31, 2017
Contact:  Katie Vane
                  802.734.0617

                 

 

City of Burlington Launches BTVStat Dashboard

Portal Offers Public Access to Data Collected by City Departments and Analyzed at Monthly BTVStat Meetings to Improve Delivery of City Services

 

Burlington, VT – Today Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the launch of a new BTVStat Dashboard that will provide the public with access to data collected each month by City Departments as part of its BTVStat Initiative. The BTVStat Initiative was created in September 2016 to gather data to inform City decision-making and to provide leadership and staff with the tools and resources needed to evaluate and improve the work they do to deliver services to the public. City Departments meet on a monthly basis to share, track, and analyze data to determine future policies and projects in line with the City’s strategic goals. The BTVStat effort has already helped the City identify funding available to hire the first new firefighters in 15 years, improve our responsiveness to requests for service, and brought new focus on and improvement to workplace safety.

 

“The City of Burlington is committed to measuring and continuously improving the quality and effectiveness of the services it delivers to residents,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “BTVStat has helped us gather and evaluate data critical to this effort and re-oriented our decision-making towards evidence instead of intuitions. I look forward to the public using the new BTVStat Dashboard to engage with the data we have collected and to track our progress. Thank you to our Innovation & Technology Department, led by Chief Innovation Officer Beth Anderson, and to all of our City Departments for participating in this important initiative.”

 

"We created this tool to provide a platform that helps measure and communicate our progress toward the City’s goals, and that increases transparency into and encourage accountability for the services we provide as we strive toward stronger, data-driven performance improvement,” said City of Burlington Chief Innovation Officer Beth Anderson. “We look forward to feedback on the platform and our work.”

 

BTVStat Dashboard

The public can access the new, regularly updated portal at https://BTVStat.burlingtonvt.gov. The Dashboard includes data about City operations and services, including financial performance, arts and recreation program participation, and street and sidewalk repair. With the Mayor’s focus on data and metrics to determine the City’s success in delivering on its goals, the Dashboard offers the public an opportunity to track the City’s progress, as well as to see new data illuminating the City’s work to provide efficient and effective services.

 

BTVStat Initiative

The BTVStat Initiative was undertaken at the request of the Mayor to ensure achievement of the City’s strategic goals, to assist and then hold Department leadership and staff accountable for the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the services delivered to residents, and to provide the tools and resources needed to evaluate and improve the work City staff does to deliver those services. BTVStat is an evidence-based approach to management. It involves using data and analysis to measure and evaluate the work of City Departments. It requires City staff to:

 

  • Specify organizational goals
  • Collect and analyze data to evaluate performance against those goals
  • Identify opportunities to improve work

 

The foundation of the program is the BTVStat meetings, which provide a forum for discussing and monitoring of the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of City operations and the services each Department delivers.

 

In other cities, this kind of coordinated approach and collaborative culture has improved performance, increased resident satisfaction, and reduced duplicative work. The Mayor believes that this kind of collaborative, team-oriented approach plays to the strengths of Department Heads and creates opportunities for staff to address shared challenges. 
 

* Please access new BTVStat Dashboard at https://BTVStat.burlingtonvt.gov

Press Release Date: 
10/31/2017
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

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