I want to acknowledge that some people are upset about the statement I wrote recently about the city manager contract renewal process. This has been a difficult time for the city, the council, the city manager and me, and I understand that many in Montpelier are ready to move on. I regret causing any offense.
Statement from Mayor John Hollar
I spoke out because of my growing frustration with the Times Argus’ coverage of this issue. With every story about the city manager’s contract – even the news that we had agreed to a renewal – the Times Argus has reprinted the same inaccurate information. The paper has seemed to be more interested in generating controversy than getting to the truth of a complicated situation.
That said, having told my side of the story, I don’t plan to address the issue again. I have taken down my statement from the mayor’s page on the city web page. Today, the council approved a two-year contract with the city manager. It is a chance for all of us to turn the page.
In recent years, the council and city have achieved a great deal: We developed a multi-year plan to boost infrastructure spending by $1 million a year, even while minimizing property tax increases. We proposed and received voter approval for a downtown improvement tax which has strengthened our relationship with Montpelier Alive and helped to revitalize downtown. We received approval for a 1 percent rooms and meals tax, created the Montpelier Development Corporation, and committed to spending $100,000 per year for an economic development position within the development corporation. We doubled funding this year for the housing trust fund. We created a bike master plan that will result in new bike lanes around town. We created a dedicated fund for alternative transportation out of our parking revenues. We built a wood-fired heating plant that now heats much of our downtown with renewable energy and are working to build a new transportation center with much-need rental housing. The council has also taken bold stands on issues such as climate change (adopting Net Zero Montpelier) and immigration (adopting sanctuary city status).
I look forward to working with the city manager and council as we build on these efforts and continue to make Montpelier an exceptional community in which to live, work and visit.