As a reminder, I’ll be posting after every City Council meeting.
Last night’s meeting was the opposite of our first meeting in that rather than one item discussed at length, it was a jam-packed agenda. I’ll do my best to not go long, which means I won’t cover every single thing. A few key items:
We first had a somewhat strange discussion/non-discussion around the death of Douglas Kilburn, and the Burlington Police Department’s role in his death, and the response of the Mayor’s office and the Cheif of Police to the medical examiner’s ruling of homocide. We did not gain much info beyond what has been reported in the media. This was mainly because there’s an ongoing investigation by the State that prevents information from being made public until it’s completed. I want to express my deep condolences to Mr. Kilburn’s family and friends, and I remain committed to working on seeking justice, both in this case and in terms of preventing future tragedy.
We received an update from Brookfield, who is leading the redevelopment of City Place (the mall project). They told us that Sinex’s previous statement about a May 6th date for resuming construction was incorrect, and that they couldn’t give us an estimate of when they might start. They didn’t provide much other info to give us a sense of where the project was at, but said they would send the council more info in the coming days.
We were presented the proposed FY 2020 budget from Chittenden Solid Waste District. I moved to refer this committee rather than taking an immediate yes/no vote. I raised serious concerns that I have: increasing fees on recycling and compost while not raising fees on trash, at a time when trash generation is increasing seems to me like the opposite direction of where we should be going.
We got a brief report back on the Neighborhood Project, a very important report that aims to improve quality of life, affordability, landlord accountability, neighborhood balance and a number of other key issues that especially impact East District. This report will be looked at in the CDNR Committee, who will come back to the Council with recommendations.
We unanimously passed a resolution, which I co-sponsored with Councilor Bushor, designating Burlington a Bee City U.S.A., which requires us (mainly Parks & Rec) to take action to support pollinators, and to educate the public about these efforts.
We unanimously passed the Water Resources staffing changes and associated budget increases — with added language that myself and others worked on over that past week, which ensures that we (council and the public) will be provided options for a rate restructure that shifts the burden away from those who can least afford to pay by no later than March 15th 2020, and ideally sooner.
I also want to note that I’ll be posting again tomorrow on something else I am working on with many community members around improving safety and increasing bicycle infrastructure on Colchester Ave.
Stay tuned, and as always reach out to me anytime.