Bring on the New Year!

This month starts 2008, and with it the opportunity to assess 2007, as well as look forward to the new year. Burlington continues to be vibrant and successful. The City recently retained its high bond rating from Moodys Investors Service. The Moodys report praised Burlingtons economy, and predicted that the economy here will remain strong (read the Moodys report on-line at http://www.ci.burlington.vt.us/ ). Burlington continued over the last year to attract numerous festivals, musical acts and other artists. We saw both the 25th anniversaries of the Jazz Festival and First Night, two exceptional signature events in our community. And, well see the 20th running of the Vermont City Marathon later this year. We continue to benefit from a high level of civic engagement in the City and our neighborhoods. Residents, city employees and departments, the City Council, for-profit and non-profit businesses, and other organizations helped Burlington thrive over the past year. Working together, Burlington will continue to grow and develop in a way that is fiscally sound, environmentally appropriate, and sensitive to the needs of all. The City Budget
Developing a City budget for the coming fiscal year is an on-going process that begins to accelerate at this time of year. Im especially pleased that the municipal budget for the current fiscal year contained no increase in property taxes. This was thanks to the hard work of City Departments, the Clerk-Treasurers Office, the City Council and Board of Finance, the Citizen Budget Task Force, and input of residents. In 2008, well continue working to build a fiscally responsible budget that maintains City services weve all come to expect. Completion of the Zoning Rewrite
At its meeting on January 7, the Burlington City Council will vote on whether to adopt a comprehensive rewrite of the Citys zoning ordinance. The Council previously voted to formally warn these changes to the public at its December 10 meeting. These changes do not satisfy everyone, but I believe they strike a fair balance between supporting appropriate economic development and protecting Burlingtons neighborhoods. Several important issues were also deferred for fresh consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council later this year. Burlington Telecom Rolls Out Service in the Old North End
Burlington Telecom (BT) has begun its roll-out of services in the Citys Old North End. To see if your street is covered or find out more about BTs phone, internet and cable service, go to http://www.burlingtontelecom.com/ or call 866-304-8434 or 802-540-0007. Heres your opportunity to buy the highest quality and to buy local! Dealer.com Stays, Expands in Burlington
I was pleased to attend Dealer.coms recent grand opening of the companys new, larger office space at the corner of Pine and Howard streets (the north side of the old Specialty Filaments building). This event is a good example of building and expanding a successful business in Burlington, as Dealer.com had the option of relocating to California. Instead, theyre building and bringing jobs here. This started with the commitment of Dealer.com founder and owner Mark Bonfigli to keep his business in Burlington. His decision was supported by the work of City of Burlington staff from CEDO, Burlington Telecom and BED, and a host of others. Dealer.coms move follows on the expansion of Lake Champlain Chocolates into the south side of the Specialty Filaments building. The re-use of this building for business development in the Pine Street corridor is a great success story especially important to Burlingtons future. The Citys Legislative Agenda
The Vermont Legislature will be convening in January for the second year of the 2007-2008 Biennium. Ive had a preliminary meeting with Burlington House members and the Chittenden Senate delegation to discuss the Citys legislative agenda. Among the topics we discussed were school funding, Corrections Department issues in general and community support and supervision for offenders leaving prison in particular, the Burlington Intervale and composting operations, statewide rental housing health and safety, and road projects -- including the Champlain Parkway. There are several more issues that will be part of the Citys agenda, and I expect to meet regularly with our House and Senate delegation in the coming year. Moran Plant Public Meeting January 10
The City has held two public information meetings on the Moran Redevelopment proposal. We will hold a third meeting on January 10, at 6:30 pm at Contois Auditorium. I hope residents will take advantage of this opportunity to become familiar with the Moran proposal, which I believe will promote economic development, bring people to Burlington and our waterfront, and benefit the community as a whole. At the meeting, residents can learn more about the proposal, ask questions about it, and have their questions answered. The City Council will be deciding in January whether to place the Moran proposal on the March 2008 ballot, a move that I support, for a city-wide vote. For more detailed information about the proposal, go to www.cedoburlington.org or call 865-7284. Chief Tremblays Departure
Burlington Police Chief Tom Tremblay announced in December that he will be resigning to become Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. Toms leadership, commitment and hard work will be greatly missed. Weve begun the hiring process for a new chief and I hope it will be complete by the end of January. In the meantime, Id like to wish Tom all the best in his new position and thank him for his good work for the City and community since hes been with the Department starting in 1982.

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