As your city councilor my priorities would be tax fairness, housing accessibility,

community safetyclimate solutions, and commitment to democratic process:

Tax fairness

Reform Municipal Property Tax System

  • Tie the municipal portion of property tax bill to income and occupancy, much like the state does for the education component of property taxes with the non-homestead property tax surcharge.

  • Advance a separate tax abatement on property improvements (a version of a Land Value Tax, described here) because the current system of equally taxing land and improvements dis-incentivizes development. 

  • Separately abate first $75,000 - $300,000 of assessed value to reduce advantage wealthy homeowners have where their assessments tend to be about 15-20% lower as a proportion of market value.

  • Seek non-profit partner to make it easier for working class folks to make property tax appeals. More expensive properties are appealed more frequently and are awarded disproportionate discounts.

  • Concurrently explore a potential vacancy tax, which would encourage redevelopment of blighted properties and of large lots that are currently under-assessed.

  • Broad goal is to incentivize development to grow city and grow the tax base, which would open up a positively reinforcing cycle of future growth in commercial, transit, and other amenities. Municipal property tax reform -- combined with potentially expanding the gross receipts tax, franchise and document recording fees, and property transfer taxes -- may reduce pressure on home prices, increase homeownership rates, and increase owner occupancy by reducing incentives to snowbird and to invest in rental properties.

Commence New Reappraisal Process for Commercial Properties

  • 2021 city-wide reappraisal was deeply flawed (e.g. golf course bill cut by 40%). 

  • The largest problem was that it undervalued commercial properties by incorporating COVID-reduced revenues, which shifted more of the overall tax burden to homeowners. 

  • The administration also claims to have relied primarily on a cost approach rather than market value approach, a method that taxes structures more than land in an egregious way. 

Housing accessibility

Use Equitable Tools to Accelerate the Administration's Vague and Disingenuous Goal of Housing as a Human Right

  • Eliminate the Residential Low Density designation that restricts even townhomes.

  • Enforce the short term rental ordinance.

  • Upzone to the extent safely possible to increase housing supply, prioritizing mixed use development. 

  • Consider expanding the CEDO's home rehabilitation program, the Housing Trust Fund, and the CHT-CEDO homeownership program, which currently only covers 2-4 unit properties properties.

  • Expand BHA, CSC, and CHT permanently affordable rental and shared equity homeownership programs (the party has been advancing this for decades).

  • Explore the creation of a new entity (as Seattle did) to expand the city's bonding capacity in order to accelerate the development of non-market, social housing. 

Continue the Long Progressive Tradition of Fighting for Tenant Rights

  • Use Portland Maine's rent stabilization measure as a model to tie rent increases to inflation (while permitting rent increases beyond inflation to cover costs of renovations).

  • Continue to work with state lawmakers to pursue the complementary policy of Just Cause Eviction that stalled in Montpelier.

  • Strengthen code enforcement on rental properties.

  • Eliminate the 4% condo conversion fee. 

  • Formally recognize tenants unions.

Community Safety

Continue to Modernize Law Enforcement

  • While authorized department staffing exceeds pre-pandemic levels (144 vs 140), we should consider further expanding hiring caps for modern professional support staff including Community Service Officers (CSOs) and Community Support Liaisons (CSLs).

  • Consider expanding Urban Park Ranger program in the Parks Department.

  • Consider extending signing bonuses to cover unsworn as well as sworn officers.

  • Continue aggressive efforts to re-staff to current sworn officer cap, which by all accounts will take several years, despite raises and retention and signing bonuses. Loss of police officers has been a big problem everywhere: Democratic mayoral candidate CD Mattison has highlighted that 900 police officers in the state of VT quit in the year after George Floyd’s murder in 2020. 

  • Deploy resources efficiently: per the December chief's report, "we had a strong contingent of officers (13) on overtime" for the tree lighting ceremony; this is probably too many, given that regularly scheduled patrols are understaffed.

  • Work with Fire Chief LaChance, who was able to stand up a CARES rapid response team in a matter of weeks (based on CAHOOTs model).

  • Ensure cases are reaching State's Attorney Sarah George's desk in a timely manner in order to better address issues like repeat larceny offenses.

  • Ensure BPD has at least one entrance open to the public.

  • Properly train sworn officers in de-escalation and mental health response to build community trust and mitigate use of force lawsuits which have cost the city dearly.

  • Ensure BPD accountability and transparency (e.g., online incident reporting response details need to be publicly available on a regular basis and cases should not be closed without communication). 

  • Expand City Center Area patrols, posting community service liaisons in City Hall Park and on Church Street every day to increase safety downtown and get needy individuals connected to social services.

Support Harm Reduction 

Climate solutions

Updating Burlington’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap

  • Broaden focus to reduce emissions from all sources and sectors including non-fossil fuel sources.

  • Address false climate solutions like "renewable" natural gas and the McNeil wood-burning plant.

Independent Climate Policy Development

  • Push to appoint a city official independent of Burlington Electric Department to develop and implement City climate policy.

  • Call for Montpelier to end unbundled Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), especially from Hydro-Quebec.

Comprehensive Measures for Emission Reduction

  • Restrict new fossil fuel infrastructure.

  • Expand subsidies for residential and commercial heat pumps.

  • Collaborate with stakeholders to transition to solar, wind, and networked geothermal, and home energy battery storage as a means of phasing out McNeil.

  • Strengthen DPI enforcement of weatherization ordinance.

  • Support for fare-free transit, increased GMT service frequency, and electrification of fleets, and advocate for expanded regional bus and rail service.

  • Support upzoning to allow for denser development and more walkable neighborhoods, while prioritizing the expansion of bike infrastructure.

Commitment to Democratic Process

  • Double councilor pay to make city leadership positions more accessible to working class.

  • Expand state public campaign finance program down to municipal level, similar to how Portland ME, Seattle WA, and other cities have done.

  • Ensure the council is responsive to the incredible public input we receive for such a small city.

  • Stop shutting down public comment at city council meetings before everyone who has signed up has had a chance to speak.

  • Show respect for the public by putting qualifying advisory ballot items on the ballot.

  • Support a version of 'Prop Zero' to enshrine voters' democratic right to putting binding ballot on the ballot.

These ideas are almost entirely in line with what our mayoral candidate Emma Mulvaney-Stanak is proposing in her mayoral platform.


In solidarity,



Photo credit: Nikki Sturges

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