Burlington mayor wants $1 million for COVID-19 response

Coronavirus

Saying more than 1,000 Burlington residents lost their jobs or income last week, Mayor Miro Weinberger will ask City Council to approve a resolution outlining several economic measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including $1 million from the sale of Burlington Telecom to help cover the cost.

In a memo to council members and the Board of Finance, Weinberger also proposed:

  • Delaying or waiving some fees and tax deadlines to provide relief to city taxpayers;
  • Establish a Burlington COVID-19 Resource and Recovery Center;
  • Approve the Emergency Work and Paid Leave Policy.

Weinberger, who will update residents on the city’s response to the outbreak at 4 p.m. Monday, said “dozens if not hundreds” of Burlington businesses face an uncertain future. The outbreak has killed five people in Vermont — four of whom are residents of Burlington Health & Rehab on Pearl Street.

“There are huge questions about how Burlingtonians will pay for food, rent, mortgage payments, and make good on personal guarantees on small business loans,” Weinberger said in the memo. “After enjoying years of strong and stable economic growth, with very little warning, our community finds itself in scary and uncertain economic times.”

Weinberger will propose that the city allocate $1 million from the Burlington Telecom sale to Schurz Communications to cover the cost of staffing an emergency operations center and a new Burlington Resource and Recovery Center, which the city announced Monday. The new center’s initial focus, Weinberger said, is ensure residents have food, shelter and health care.

It will also help the homeless find temporary shelter that meets social distancing guidelines; help laid-off workers apply for unemployment payments; aid renters concerned about eviction due to loss of income; and help local businesses with insurance claims and access to federal and state resources.

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