Over the past few weeks, there has been a rash of mass shootings across our country, which have highlighted the rising rate of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic. This frequency of violence is condemnable, as is any act of hate based on any aspect of someone’s identity. My fellow councilors and the City Staff wish to express our support for community members who identify as Asian and reaffirm our commitment to equity and antiracism. We are thankful that we haven't seen a rise in reports of such crimes in Winooski and want to and thank our residents for continuing to hold the values of a safe, healthy, and connected community.
Here are my updates from the last City Council meeting:
We have appointed a search committee for hiring our next City Manager, which includes representatives from City Staff, the Winooski School District, our business community, and service providers for our new American neighbors. While the committee does represent varied voices, it does not include every voice in Winooski, so we really hope for residents to engage in this process. City Manager Search Committee meetings will be publicly warned, in the same way our City Council and Commission meetings are warned. The best way to get notifications of our public meetings is to sign up for our email news updates - if you haven't yet, please sign up today. The committee’s first task is to determine the competencies we want in our next City Manager. What kinds of professional experiences do you want our new City Manager to have? In addition to committee meetings, residents can also submit feedback by email or reach out to me directly. In the meantime, we'll appoint two co-interim City Managers from our Leadership Team to bridge the gap between Jessie Baker’s departure on May 15 and the hiring of our new City Manager.
Council approved a fee-in-lieu for street amenities, meaning we can collect revenue from developers when they are unable to install required trees or other street amenities (due to constraints of specific properties and projects). We also received an update on financial modeling for the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District – i.e. the debt for the redevelopment of our downtown. We anticipate paying that off in 2024, after which all new taxes dedicated to paying off the TIF will be redirected to the city and the state education fund (reducing the additional tax burden on our residents!) We are on track to pay down the TIF with the development of the new parking garage and hotel (aka "Lot 7D", the empty lot down by CCV). The pandemic has created challenges for the project, but we do have confidence it is moving forward. We should have an update to share at our next meeting on April 19th.
If you didn't get a chance to attend this meeting, you can watch the recording or view the minutes here.
Beyond City Council news, I attended this month’s Burlington Airport Advisory Commission meeting and heard an update on their progress with noise monitoring and mitigation. The airport expects to have noise monitors installed by July, one of which should be located right at Winooski City Hall, to capture noise on the ground. The system is meant to have an online portal for the public to access the data. As the airport shares more information, we will share it as well. I also learned that design work is beginning for the noise compatibility program and they are on track to begin work on 50 houses next year. We continue to explore additional funding sources to try to expand that program and speed up mitigation. For other details regarding this process, please visit http://www.btvsound.com.
Feel free to reach out at any time regarding these updates:
Mayor Kristine Lott - firstname.lastname@example.org / 802 766 1988