A weekly brief on what we're watching – so you don't have to.
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August 17, 2021
This is your BBA Brief, a quick look at issues on the horizon for Team BBA.
We'll give a lowdown of issues of importance to you and your business that we're watching this week. Join the discussion or rest easy knowing we're on the case advocating for our members and a vibrant Burlington.
A reminder that no BBA committees meet the month of August.
Council Votes Against Raising Officer Cap
Last week Progressives on the city council voted down a resolution to allow for BPD to begin the hiring process for new officers in light of new info.
The outcome of this vote was disappointing but not unexpected. We’ve heard consistently from our members that safety downtown is a top concern. Kelly spoke at public comment to the urgent public safety needs of merchants and their staff.
This resolution came forward following the unanimous recommendation from the Police Commission, a quicker than expected rate of attrition, long lead time in officer hiring, and a survey finding 50% of officers were considering leaving the department. The portion of the resolution to immediately hire 2 additional community service liaisons did pass.
The resolution was also supported by over a dozen residents and business owners at public comment and in a statement from the Howard Center Street Outreach Team.
Acting Chief Murad spoke to the likely impacts of a failure to allow the department to immediately begin the ~ 9 month long process of hiring new officers. A further increase in forced overtime, potentially pulling officers from the detective bureau, a continued “brain drain” from the department, more “stacking” of calls by priority (currently 16%). In the coming “tour” BPD will have 28 officers available for patrol response - down from 52.
In some good news from the meeting, an additional 4 weeks of funding for our Downtown Safety Escort Program was approved unanimously. A huge thanks to Councilor Mark Barlow for advocating the use of his budgeted Councilor Initiative Funds to help keep downtown workers safe.
In light of the vote, here are some reminders for downtown merchants and restaurants
Let us know if your business and staff are experiencing safety issues and harassment.
The City Council next meets September 13. A consultant's report is expected to come out next month that is tasked with “ examining and reevaluating public safety needs in Burlington and reassessing the role of BPD in promoting public safety in Burlington.” The council and mayor have both indicated a desire to revisit this issue after the report is published. BBA will continue to closely follow this.
Street Outreach Team Survey
Ensure continued Street Outreach funding by taking this short survey for downtown merchants and businesses
Every year, The Howard Center Street Outreach Team is required to submit data to The State of Vermont, UVMMC, and the United Way in order to continue to receive funding. Please provide your feedback in the following link 2020-2021 Merchant Survey. This will help them gather that data and improve our service to you. Please submit responses by August 20th.
Anyone who travels on or along North Winooski Avenue by any travel method is encouraged to complete this survey - resident, visitor, employee, employer, owner, or manager. The survey will help further understand the vehicle parking needs as part of a multimodal transportation system.
As folks are likely aware, work on the Shelburne Street Roundabout project has begun. More info on this multi-year project and weekly newsletter signup can be found at the Shelburne Street Roundabout VTrans Project Webpage.
AMTRAK to Burlington work continues
The project prepares for the closure of College Street at the railroad crossing 8/20 - 9/17. More info and weekly newsletter signup can be found at the AMTRAK to Burlington VTrans Project Webpage.