Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Members Present: Vice President Cloud, and Members Beckett, Elwell, Richard, Safford, Shepeluk, Simmons and Whittaker. Member Hurd attended via telephone.
Others Present: Guests Todd LeBlanc, South Burlington Assessor; VLCT staff members Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Mike Gilbar, Abigail Friedman and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President.
Vice President Cloud called the meeting to order at 12:28 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda
Member Shepeluk asked that consideration of a request for an amicus brief filing be added to Other Business. On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Simmons, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda as amended.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items
Member Shepeluk stated that he had not attended the meeting on June 27, but was listed as present. On motion duly made by Member Beckett and seconded by Member Richard, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of the June 27, 2017 Board meeting, as amended.
Agenda Item #4: Organizational Update
Maura Carroll reported on progress of the VLCT migration to the cloud, preparations for the state league directors’ national conference in Burlington and ongoing plans for Town Fair.
Agenda Item #5: VLCT Audit
Katie Glover of Johnson Lambert, VLCT’s auditing firm, attended the meeting via telephone and presented the results of the 2016 VLCT audit to the Board. She and Mike Gilbar responded to questions. There was considerable discussion about the effect of the Vermont Municipal Retirement System’s unfunded liability on VLCT’s net position. The Board requested that staff determine which individuals should be invited to the next VLCT Board meeting to discuss investments and the long-term outlook of investment returns for the VMERS system.
On motion duly made by Member Whittaker and seconded by Member Simmons, the Board unanimously voted to accept the 2016 VLCT audit report.
Agenda Item #6: Review of Legislative Matters and Municipal Legislative Policy Process
Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov reported on the work of all of the Municipal Policy Committees during the month of July. They responded to several inquiries from the Board and there was lively discussion about the policies and the committee meetings.
On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Safford, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Vice President Cloud as the VLCT representative to the Water Quality Funding Committee.
Agenda Item #7: Consideration of a Submitted Bylaw Amendment.
There was considerable discussion about the request by the Vermont Association of Listers and Assessors to change the VLCT Bylaws to include listers as qualified officials to serve on the VLCT Board. Todd LeBlanc, President of VALA, offered the perspective of VALA members and that was followed by an interactive exchange of opinions and questions posed. The Board took no action on the request.
Agenda Item #8: Town Fair and 50th Anniversary Update
Maura Carroll provided an update on the plans for Town Fair, including the keynote speaker, Matt Thornhill, from the Institute for Tomorrow, the focus on the future of local government and civic engagement and the continuing celebration of VLCT’s 50th Anniversary.
Agenda Item #9: Other Business
c. Member Initiatives Member Shepeluk asked to step down from his role as a VLCT Board member to present the details of a Waterbury case heading to the state Supreme Court. The Waterbury Village Trustees submitted a request for the Board to consider an amicus curiae brief filing by VLCT in support of the Village’s position. A lengthy discussion ensued. On motion duly made by Member Beckett and seconded by Member Richard, the Board unanimously voted to direct staff to review the case and determine whether to recommend an amicus filing to the Board. The Board asked that particular attention be paid to the narrow issue on which the superior court based its ruling and on any other issue that Municipal Assistance Center attorneys identify as important municipal interests.
Member Whittaker raised questions about the response time of the Department of Taxes to citizen questions and requests. There was general discussion about some of the issues faced by that department with new software and new management staff as well as by other departments with significant lag time for permitting and response to municipal officials.
Member Whittaker also asked Maura Carroll to welcome Clarence Anthony of the National League of Cities back to Vermont. He was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Town Fair and will be present for the league directors’ meeting in Burlington.
On motion duly made by Member Beckett and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 2:55 p.m.