Vermont League of Cities and Towns Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, September 7, 2017
VLCT Offices, Montpelier, Vermont
Members Present: President Cadwell, Vice President Cloud, and Members Beckett, Elwell, Hurd, Pinsonault, Richard, Safford, Shepeluk, Simmons, Weinberger, White and Whittaker.
Others Present: Guests: Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce; Tim Leuders-Dumont, Policy Director for the State Treasurer’s Office; VLCT staff members: Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Mike Gilbar, Jessica Hill, Abigail Friedman and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item 1: Call to order by the President. President Cadwell called the meeting to order at 12:22 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. On motion duly made by Member Hurd and seconded by Member Elwell, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. Jessica Hill made some brief comments about the health plans for VLCT employees. On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board approved the minutes of the July 27, 2017 Board meeting and accepted the Personnel Report. Member Pinsonault and Member White abstained from the vote.
Agenda Item #4: VMERS Investment Return/GASB Issues Pertaining to Retirement Costs. State Treasurer Beth Pearce addressed the Board regarding retirement system investments, comparing VMERS returns to CALPERS (the California public retirement system), the City of Burlington’s retirement system and VLCT’s investment returns. She discussed the importance of looking at returns over a number of years and offered to work with VLCT and its auditors to ensure that the auditors have the appropriate information with which to advise VLCT. Treasurer Pearce responded to several inquiries from the Board.
Agenda Item #5: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll thanked Member Weinberger for his welcome to the state league directors at the national conference in Burlington and reported on progress of the VLCT migration to the Cloud. She briefly mentioned the staff initial undertaking of a values adoption process for VLCT, preparation for listening sessions in 2018, the option for cities and towns to take advantage of the pricing offered in the state contract with W.B. Mason and contact with other municipal leagues offering assistance in the wake of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Agenda Item #6: Review of Legislative Matters and Municipal Legislative Policy Process. Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov provided comment on the draft Municipal Policy and responded to several inquiries from the Board. There was lively discussion about the policies and the amendments offered by member cities and towns. The Board took the following actions:
On motion duly made by Member Elwell and seconded by Member Hurd, the Board voted unanimously to remove the first bullet in the Guiding Principles support of funding and incentives:
an Open Meeting Law Educational program.
On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board voted unanimously to remove the fifth bullet in the Guiding Principles support of funding and incentives:
expeditious construction and repair of municipal sidewalks and recreation paths.
On motion duly made by Member Elwell and seconded by Member White, the Board voted unanimously to adopt additional language to Section 1.05 so that paragraph 2 reads:
Allowing the State’s portion of proceeds from local options taxes to fund only PILOT for that state-owned property specified in 32 V.S.A. § 3701(1) as of 2017. All money raised by local option taxes should be retained in the state owned property PILOT and used only to increase PILOT for those state-owned buildings specified in 32 V.S.A. § 3701(1) as of 2017 and in the event of a fund surplus, for state-owned lands on which state buildings are located.
On motion duly made by Member Shepeluk and seconded by Member Hurd, the Board voted unanimously to remove paragraph 6 in Section 1.06:
revising the law that regulates property tax sales to establish redemption and appeal periods at the beginning of tax sale proceedings and limiting the appeal period to 30 days from the date of sale.
On motion duly made by Member Hurd and seconded by Vice President Cloud, the Board voted unanimously to remove a portion of paragraph 1 in Section 1.09 so that it reads: requiring municipal ratification of the county budget
including any costs incurred when a sheriff provides dispatch services.
On motion duly made by Member Whittaker and seconded by Member Shepeluk, the Board voted to remove paragraph 6 of Section 1.09:
restoring the current use program to an agricultural and silvicultural preservation program.
On motion duly made by Member Richard and seconded by Member Hurd, the Board voted unanimously to amend paragraph 9 of Section 1.09 to read:
requiring allowing a gap day of no without early voting or voter registrations on the day before Election Day.
On motion duly made by Vice President Cloud and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board voted unanimously to amend paragraph 8 of section 3.01, at the request of the Guilford Selectboard, to read: providing statewide access to a complete, affordable
broadband network fiber optics service that benefits the public safety first responders, and builds the economy; and to delete paragraph 6 of Section 3.04: including all users of the Criminal Justice Training Academy in discussions to reorganize the structure and funding for local first responder and emergency services provider training.; and
On motion duly made by Member Weinberger and seconded by Member Simmons, the Board voted unanimously to amend the last sentence in Section 3.01 to read: Marijuana should
not only be legalized for recreational purposes until after all public safety, public health, local regulatory and budgetary concerns are adequately addressed.
On motion duly made by President Cadwell and seconded by Member Hurd, the Board voted unanimously to amend paragraph 1 of Section 4.06, at the request of the Guilford Selectboard, to read: active participation by VLCT and municipalities in a transparent governance structure regulating development of a
broadband network fiber optics service that is complete, statewide, and affordable to municipalities for both the use of public safety first responders and for building Vermont’s economy; and
President Cadwell left the meeting at 2:40 p.m. and Vice President Cloud presided during the remainder of the meeting.
On motion duly made by Member Pinsonault and seconded by Member Whittaker, the Board unanimously voted to amend paragraph 5 of Section 5.01 to read: a
n statewide authority for centralized collection of impervious surface or per parcel fees, development, and implementation of clean water projects.
On motion duly made by Vice President Cloud and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to recommend the draft Municipal Policy, as amended by the foregoing votes, to the full membership at the Annual Meeting on October 4, 2017.
Member Hurd left the meeting at 2:55 p.m. and Member Beckett left the meeting at 3:05 p.m.
Agenda Item #7 Financial Update. Deputy Director and CFO Mike Gilbar presented the second quarter VLCT financial report and responded to inquiries from members of the Board. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously accepted the financial report.
Agenda Item #8 Nominating Committee Report. Member Shepeluk, the chair of the VLCT Nominating Committee, reviewed the Nominating Committee report which will be offered to the membership at the VLCT Annual Meeting in October. He also reported that the Nominating Committee met prior to the Board meeting to determine whether they would offer a recommendation regarding the potential Board vacancy if the membership adopts the slate of candidates recommended in the Nominating Committee Report. The members decide not to offer any further recommendation. If a vacancy occurs, an application process will follow.
Agenda Item #9 Appointment of Credentials Committee. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Weinberger, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Vice President Cloud and Members Shepeluk and Pinsonault to serve as the Credentials Committee for the purpose of ruling on any question about who can participate in the VLCT Annual Meeting.
Agenda Item # 10 Town Fair and 50th Anniversary Update. Maura Carroll provided an update on the plans for Town Fair, and asked Board members to encourage other local officials and employees to attend on Wednesday, even if they are not attending the Annual Meeting, to take advantage of other activities on Wednesday afternoon and then to celebrate with music, a photo booth and fireworks on Wednesday evening. She asked the Board to help thank the exhibitors at Town Fair and be available for photos with them for later publication in VLCT News. Jessica Hill also asked Board members to send a prepared message to local Front Porch Forum sites to seek officials and employees that have served Vermont local government for 50 years.
Agenda Item #11 Other Business.
a. President’s Initiatives. Before leaving the meeting, President Cadwell asked the Board to consider VLCT representative appointments to three committees. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Pinsonault the Board unanimously voted to ask the following individuals to represent VLCT: on the Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission Roadway Safety Subcommittee: Chief Jennifer Morrison of Colchester; to the Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission Taxation and Regulation Subcommittee: Gwynn Zakov, and to the Act 250 Committee: Karen Horn.
c. Member Initiatives. Member Whittaker expressed concerns about the Department of Taxes and the lack of response to citizen questions and requests. There was general discussion about this and complaints about the department that staff is hearing. Staff was asked to see if anything could be done to help the Board and local officials have better access to the department.
On motion duly made by Member Weinberger and seconded by Member Shepeluk, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 3:30 p.m.