As I go into what I hope to be my second term as Mayor, I want to pose the question, what could Montpelier be like? I believe we need Montpelier to be climate resilient. We need it to be diverse and accessible. We need it to be affordable. And we need to be prepared. That’s why I will prioritize environmental stewardship, sustainable infrastructure, and building strong neighborhoods.
- We must continue to examine the City’s carbon output and how we can meet our net zero goals. We will reach net zero energy by 2030 for municipal operations, and we must continue to pursue programs for the community at large so that we can beat our goal of net zero by 2050 for the community. As an example, we’re looking at plans to refurbish the Recreation Building on Barre Street. As I said in the council meeting last week, if we’re going to spend millions of dollars to refurbish that building, then I’d rather spend a little more and make that building fossil-fuel free. We need to look at how we can incentivize, encourage, and support peoples’ transition off of fossil fuels, especially those residents with low incomes.
- We need to fully fund our infrastructure. This means roads, bridges, and pipes and paths. As you may have noticed, we’ve had some water main breaks this year. The council had an encouraging meeting with the department of Public Works recently, in which learned that there may be a way to lessen the effects of water hammering, which ultimately causes poor-quality pipes to break. I think we have the beginnings of a longer term plan that will help prevent water main breaks. We need to continue to properly fund our road infrastructure and make sure that we are making choices about materials that will give these structures the longest life possible.
- We need to re-establishing the Capital Area Neighborhoods. I’d like to see the City of Montpelier help incentivize and provide some simple resources for neighborhood scale communities. These neighborhood groups will be an important mechanism for the City to collect feedback on issues, help get important information out, and encourage dialogue. These neighborhood groups could be key for emergency preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and they may even help with crime prevention. As we get to know our neighbors, we may find ourselves exposed to new ideas or ways of thinking. That diversity and dialogue will make us stronger, and strong neighborhoods make strong cities.
If you ‘d like more information about the municipality’s energy profile, check out the presentation given to the city council here.