During our last City Council meeting, we spent the bulk of our time discussing housing. Staff shared an update on the City’s progress towards our goals to support more quality affordable housing for all residents of Winooski. We heard concerns from a few residents who shared their different experiences with housing challenges. To date, we have seen some positive progress:
- The Champlain Housing Trust is well underway with the construction process on Butternut Grove, which will offer affordable condos located right in front of the O'Brien Community Center.
- The Winooski Housing Commission has analyzed a lot of housing and code violation data to provide recommendations to our Planning Commission that could lead to improved zoning changes while prioritizing housing quality issues.
- Next year, we’ll be able to launch a Housing Trust Fund application, giving residents access to money to help with down payment assistance, make home improvements, and develop affordable housing.
Housing is a complex issue - there is a lot more work to do on the local level and we're engaged with our State and Federal partners who are also experiencing this burden. We encourage residents to get involved in this process by attending our Housing Commission and City Council meetings. Please read the full housing update here.
We also approved a request from Downtown Winooski (the non-profit organization that supports all Winooski businesses and plans many of our annual events) to collect 5% of our local options tax (sales, rooms, meals). For reference, voters approved the local options tax in 2019 with the understanding that it would support capital projects and mitigate tax increases. In the last few years, Downtown Winooski has helped secure nearly $2 million in grants to support our capital projects. With 5% of the local options tax, Downtown Winooski will continue to support our vibrant business community and ongoing capital projects.
Another big part of our last City Council meeting was reviewing a community outreach plan for all-resident voting. On Town Meeting Day (3.1.22), all legal residents of Winooski will be able to vote on city and school budgets, as well as candidates for City Council and the School Board. We're updating our voter registration process, training election workers, and planning outreach throughout the winter to educate residents. Winooski-only voting information, as well as all of our voting resources, will be available at https://www.winooskivt.gov/vote in the coming months. If you are not yet registered to vote, I encourage you to do so! You can register to vote right up until the day of the election - online, in person, or by mail.
Remember, you can always watch a City Council meeting and view our agenda items and minutes if you can't attend that night by visiting the agenda center on our website.
As always, feel free to reach out at any time.
Mayor Kristine Lott
firstname.lastname@example.org / 802 766 1988