July 15th 2019 Council Update
Three of the items we discussed were in executive session, and therefore I can’t provide further information yet. The reason I voted to go into executive session is that these items included discussions of the City’s negotiations with outside entities (corporations) and if they were public, we would be unable to negotiate properly (therefore harming the City and taxpayers) because the other side of the negotiations would understand all of our strategy. More info will become public soon, at which point I can discuss. Please let me know if you have further questions on this — I don’t take the decision to go into executive session lightly.
The items in executive session were:
1. Update on CityPlace development
2. Discussion of possible uses Of Burlington Telecom proceeds
3. Water billing negotiations
Other key items from Monday night:
1. A new position was created in the Community Economic Development Office — Asst. Director of Community Works.
2. A report that was requested through a resolution that I passed in May was presented by Burlington Electric Department. We now have a much better understanding of where we are in terms of the energy efficiency of our housing stock, and how existing policy has worked and not work. As you might imagine, Ward 8 has the least efficient housing. This information puts us in a position to begin moving forward strongly on the goal of making every housing unit in Burlington energy efficient — with a focus on rentals. Much, much more to come from me on this issue.
3. BHS Student Kawther Hashim presented on their initiative to support Yemeni children.
4. I resolution I co-sponsored on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives passed unanimously. This is a huge step forward for our City — we will now have a standing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and a senior, full-time position, responsible for overseeing, managing, and advising other senior officials on the City’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Many people collaborated on this, but above all I’d like to extend a special thank you to Mark Hughes, a Ward 1 resident and racial justice advocate who saw this through from vision to reality.
5. We appointed members to the Special Committee on Policing Polices. There is one slot on the committee that remains to be filled — a member representing a local domestic abuse service provider. If you or someone you know is interested in applying please let me know!
6. We authorized spending $570,000 to purchase four new sidewalk tractors. This is absolutely essential equipment to deal with winter conditions (which now include way more freeze-thaw cycles because of climate change) and ensure our sidewalks are safe and accessible to all.