Burlington Mayor Miro won’t run again

With his wife and two children present, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced yesterday he won’t seek another term.

By Michael Bielawski

The mayor of Burlington Miro Weinberger announced during a press conference on Thursday afternoon that he will not seek another term as mayor. He’s been mayor for 12 years and he will remain in office into April of next year.

“I’ve decided now is the right time to conclude my service as mayor,” he said. “I will not be seeking reelection for a 5th term.”

He implied that he will likely stay in politics but he’s not sure what his next move is.

“I have every intention of staying involved,” he said.

He noted some of the unfinished business.

“We still have an enormous housing shortage and the second-worst homelessness problem per capita of any state in the nation,” he said. “We have a deepening drug crisis that is taking an enormous toll on this community and on the rest of Vermont and a wide range of serious public safety problems.”

His accomplishments

Weinberger spent much of the time listing accomplishments. He appeared in high spirits and satisfied with his decision.

“I said I would fix the city’s finances, hold the public city officials accountable, and get stuck installed projects moving again,” Weinberger said. “I promised the people of Burlington a fresh start, hard work, and a steady hand during the crisis of our time.”

He said he was surprised by the number of challenges including the escalating drug epidemic, stalled major construction projects, the shutdowns during COVID-19, political unrest, and more.

He said over seven years the city was taken from “the edge of insolvency” to a AA credit rating. He suggested this saved the city at least $45 million so far.

Other accomplishments include the revitalization of the city’s 8-mile-long lakefront bike path and the city’s Northern Water Front. He noted the train service is getting Burlington residents to and from New York City which had not been possible since the 1950s.

He said the Champlain Parkway is now under construction, which the mayor described as “the mother of all stuck and stalled Burlington projects.”

He said that since 2011 more than 2,000 homes have been built or are currently being built.

A green future?

He spent some time touting their green energy initiatives.

“We are leading the nation in our muscular and innovative local climate policies,” he said. “We were the first community in the country to create net-zero energy revenue bonds so that we can invest $20 million into improving our grid and electrifying everything.”

He added that all older buildings are required to be weatherized to improve insulation standards.

He also reminded Burlington voters that they had voted on and approved a carbon tax on themselves, but it didn’t call it a “carbon pollution impact fee.”

“And while many have given up on the critical climate policy of properly pricing carbon, because they all think it’s politically possible, before the end of the year here in Burlington with the approval of the voters, with the approval of the legislature, with the signature of the governor, we will implement one of the country’s first carbon pollution impact fees.”

He cited the city’s now annual Juneteenth celebrations as a big accomplishment, even though it’s been marred by funding controversies.

He touted the department that worked on the celebration.

“We created one of the state’s first racial equity and inclusion and belonging departments,” he said.

The ongoing crime challenges

In regards to the highly publicized and controversial 2022 move by the City Council to defund their police force by a third, he says that he was not a part of that effort and he “fought those who fought to decimate our officer ranks.”

He added, “I do regret that it took 18 months to reverse the City Council decision to eliminate 30% of our officers. We are now on track with our rebuilding plan, we have a confirmed and committed chief, and we are on a trajectory to become a stronger and better-resourced and more skilled police department than ever.”

Currently, several major crimes are at record rates for the year, including the city’s 350th overdose of the year recorded already, according to the police chief’s latest report.

Going forward

He said that this year the city will break ground on a “$30 million effort to transform Main Street”. He said there’s another $50 million in TIF funding [tax increment financing] and federal funding which will be focused on rebuilding Cherry Street, Bank Street, and other streets running through City Place. He said more trees, outdoor public art, bike lanes and more can be expected.

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle

About Vermont Daily Chronicle: every weekday, we publish 10 Vermont-related news and commentary articles. Subscriptions to Vermont Daily Chronicle are free. Subscribing takes less than one minute: click here to subscribe and receive the daily edition in your email. The Vermont Daily Chronicle is supported almost exclusively by Contributing Readers who appreciate our unique place in the Vermont news media and generously give $108/year (some give more, some less) via PayPal or by writing a check to Vermont Daily Chronicle, P.O. Box 1547, Montpelier Vermont, 05641.

Categories: Burlington

9 replies »

  1. I don’t blame Weinberger for his decision one bit. He may be a liberal progressive, but he has too many times run up against a cement headed City
    Council whose heads are in the bureaucratic clouds. Case in point, as Milo says, “I do regret that it took 18 months to reverse the City Council decision to eliminate 30% of our officers”…amen to that! I even suggested on two of the Council members Facebook pages that you have to be “dumber than a box of rocks” to defund the police and decrease their numbers just because it is a popular national Marxist trend in Joe Zero’s ‘administration.’ Look at the rampant crime and drug increases in Burlington and so many other cities everywhere…and their answer is to cut back on law enforcement?? What a crock…I am only concerned now who is going to be Weinberger’s replacement in our lovely ‘Queen City’ (aptly named)…

    • 1776–You smell a conspiracy? I’m betting you’re not the only one. I’m betting you’re right. If Mr. Weinberger doesn’t run for another term and steps down in April, 2024, will that still give him time time to make a ramp up a run in 2024 at Vermont’s sole House of Representative seat; give Ms. Balint’s lackluster work to date a challenge?
      Maybe follow Bernie the Buffoon’s path to the House, and then the Senate?
      Grim prospect if that’s the case…

  2. Mr. Mayor, all due respect for your rescuing the city’s finances and some other fine work you have done, but your efforts to solve the homelessness problem in Burlington have only attracted more vagrants and junkies to the area, contributing to Vermont’s status as #2 in the nation for overdose deaths and homelessness per capita. If you want to solve Burlington’s homeless problem, then stop trying to solve Burlington’s homeless problem.

  3. Miro was 100% right when he said our elevated crime problem was the fault of the idiots on the City Council who decided to defund the Police. I also lay a good deal of the blame on our State’s Attorney who unilaterally decided not to prosecute BIPOC criminals, thereby giving criminals of all stripes free run of our city.

    The big problem is, of course, money. It costs money to treat drug addiction which is, I suspect, at the heart of this crisis. Getting someone who has OD’ed back on their feet without treating their addiction is a big part of the problem. The invention of Narcan has given addicts a security blanket and they’re using it for all it’s worth. The Feds are going to have to step up with the money to help these people, but until they do, we’re caught in a never ending cycle of crime. I wish I had an answer, but I don’t.

  4. Wow! Is all I can say to The mayors decision not to run again, makes me think of the rats jumping ship before it sinks! Burlington is a mess! I have not been there for more then 2 years,and don’t plan on it! Homeless everywhere,drugs also.. businesses leaving in droves.. He can tout all the green stuff all he wants but it does not make the city any better or more affordable! I feel very bad for The City Police! Their job is thankless,and anyone who is working there are Heros in my eyes!
    Burlington is just one of the main symptoms for making Vermont less affordable and liveable for the hardworking rest of VERMONT!!

  5. Where is he headed in Vermont politics? We should all be quite concerned. This does not bode well for Vermont.

  6. In Vermont Digger, the headlines are, there has never been a female identified mayor for Burlington…..see they have all this planned out before the announcement. They are if anything organized. They are if anything, in control of the press and the narrative in Vermont, and we lap it up, without ever questioning.