Statement from Mayor Seth Leonard Re: Charter Change

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

As a Vermont municipality, the City of Winooski is organized by a Municipal Charter that is approved by the State Legislature. The Charter details how the City is organized, how the City can raise and spend funds, and defines the rules of municipal functions like elections. On Monday, August 20th the Winooski City Council approved a schedule timeline that asked for the development of charter change language that would permit all residents of the City, regardless of U.S. Citizenship status, over the age of 18, to vote in local elections (the change would impact municipal and school district elections only). The schedule proposed a timeline that could result in placing a special item on the general election ballot for public vote by the residents of Winooski on November 6th.

On September 4th, the Council considered initial draft charter change language, and also heard operational and legal updates on the proposal.

At the next Council meeting on Monday, September 17th at 6 PM in City Hall, Council will consider voting on the proposed language and could also formally authorize the proposed charter change to go on the ballot before voters during the November General Election on November 6th. The September 17th meeting is open to the public where you can share your thoughts on this issue directly with Council.

If you are unable to attend the City’s meetings, you can also reach out directly to members of City Council.

You can review the City Council meeting packages with detailed information on the proposal at the City’s website: winooskivt.org/city-council where you will also see contact information to contact Council members. You can also watch the August 20th and September 4th meetings online at CCTV’s website: cctv.org/winooski-city-council

Should the language and ballot placement be approved on September 17th, there would be two subsequent Public Hearings. One would occur on Thursday, October 4th (time and location to be determined) and Monday, October 15th. Those public meetings will also be warned opportunities for the community to weigh in on the content of the language. However, the decision as to whether the item will be warned for the ballot will occur on Monday, September 17th at 6 PM at City Hall.

When a charter change proposal is approved by the voters of a municipality, it then goes to the legislature. The legislature has the final authority to permit a change to occur, may alter the proposal to conform with their interpretation of the law, or could deny the proposal.

Official communications from the City and updates on important issues are also available via the City’s website: www.winooskivt.org and we also encourage you to connect with updates from the City via social media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Sincerely,

Seth Leonard, Mayor of Winooski

City Council Contacts:

Seth Leonard: sleonard@winooskivt.org

Nicole Mace: nmace@winooskivt.org

Eric Covey: ecovey@winooskivt.org

Kristine Lott: klott@winooskivt.org

Hal Colston: hcolston@winooskivt.org