Meaghan Emery announces her candidacy for a fifth term on City Council. She has long been an advocate for common sense policy that promotes fiscal responsibility and protects residents’ quality of life. This requires a balance between a number of competing priorities. In Council deliberations, she seeks to do the following:
– Focus development in our city’s core and preserve areas rich in wildlife and agricultural-grade soils.
– Enforce local oversight of our public assets and enter into agreements for shared regional services that do not compromise the city’s interests or squander public resources.
– Enhance the visibility of our existing commercial districts and ensure that the door remains open to new local businesses.
– Develop our bike path network and promote public transportation while maintaining our roadways and highway services.
– Support valuable public and cultural services that develop a sense of community for the benefit of all residents.
This year will see the completion of City Center projects, including a park, with accessible walking paths, play structures, and restored ecosystems, as well as the construction of Allard Square, a senior residence, on Market Street. The new culvert on Market Street has brought needed stormwater mitigation to the City Center district, and Councilor Emery has been a strong advocate for this responsible planning — with no increase in property taxes — through TIF (Tax Increment Financing). TIF, for a limited time, allows 80% of property taxes collected from new development to be invested into public infrastructure, including parks, roads, and public facilities.
Emery is committed to advancing the proposal to construct a new public library. Expected to occur next fall, the bond vote will be covered by TIF, City Center reserves, and private fundraising. Allard Square (developed by the nonprofit, Cathedral Square) benefitted from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, which the Council unanimously supported in order to encourage such development. Emery would also like to see this fund used for housing that could accommodate families with school-age children, either on Market Street (as Champlain Housing Trust is currently proposing) or elsewhere.
Emery believes concentrated development that meets the needs of families, workers, retirees, and businesses benefits our community long-term. She similarly supports the preservation of open land for agriculture, wildlife or recreation, which will ensure sustainability. Also of benefit are investments in shared services, such as regional dispatch for police and fire/EMS, which will be put before voters in March, and in renewable energy. The Landfill Solar Array, opened last year, promises to generate $45,000 to $65,000 of net metering credit value annually to offset the city’s electrical costs.
Emery wishes to continue her work to realize the end goals of these initiatives.