New Burlington Councilors Sworn In; Mayor Offers State Of The City
Monday was the beginning of a new term for Burlington, Vermont city councilors as re-elected and new members were sworn in. Mayor Miro Weinberger then delivered his annual State of the City address.
On Town Meeting Day in March, Burlington City residents re-elected South District Democrat Joan Shannon. New councilors were elected for the other three races: Progressives Perri Freeman in the Central District and Jack Hanson in the East District and North District voters chose Democrat Franklin Paulino.
After the Burlington Police Department Honor Guard posted the colors, Mayor Miro Weinberger delivered their oath of office.
Burlington’s Democratic mayor then offered his eighth State of the City address, citing several areas of successful consensus over the past year. “Infrastructure work is just one of the many areas where we have found consensus. We came together to spur urgent action on lake health and clean water, and we joined together at this table to unanimously support a new, feasible plan to transform the Moran Plant eyesore into a Burlington landmark. Our Early Learning Initiative is helping to create dozens of new, high-quality childcare spaces in Burlington;. As a result of these local successes and more I am proud to report that the State of our City is very strong, and for the seventh year in a row, stronger than it was one year ago.”
Weinberger noted the work that is being done in the city to address the opioid crisis. He announced that social workers are now working in the city police department to screen arrestees for addictions and offer immediate access to treatment. “We know that a large percentage of individuals who are committing crimes are suffering from opioid addiction. So like Vermont’s successful new program of providing treatment in prisons, this new, innovative initiative will ensure that the criminal justice system is doing all it can to bring this epidemic to an end.”
The mayor plans to focus on three policy areas in the upcoming year. “In 2019, we must continue to focus on fiscal responsibility, including the careful stewardship of our public infrastructure. We must make progress towards our ambitious climate goals. And we must redouble our efforts to end the housing crisis that, until recently, had been worsening for a long time.”
Weinberger said he wants 2019 to be the year that substantive housing policy reform is accomplished. “I am announcing tonight that the Mayor’s Office will host a Housing Summit in May to review a range of key housing policies, including: our downtown parking policies; rule changes to create more Accessory Dwelling Units throughout the City; increased funding of our local Housing Trust Fund; short-term rental policies; and updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs. We will emerge from that summit with a list of priority housing initiatives and our goal will be to deliver draft ordinances for these priority reforms to the council for formal vetting and action by October.”
Following the mayor’s speech city councilors re-elected Ward 4 Republican Kurt Wright to a second term as City Council President.