Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Members Present: President Cloud, Vice President Weinberger and Members Beckett, Cadwell, Elwell, Fraser, Goulette, Pinsonault, Safford, Simmons, White, Whittaker and Wonsor.
Others Present: VLCT staff members: Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Jessica Hill, Abigail Friedman, Mike Gilbar, Susan Senning and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. President Cloud called the meeting to order at 12:20 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting. Abby Friedman introduced the newest attorney on the MAC team, Susan Senning.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. On motion duly made by Member Elwell and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda as amended to include a request from Member Whittaker to address the Board under Agenda Item #11b, Member Initiatives.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Cadwell and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda items. Jessica Hill added an announcement to the personnel update that Dave Sichel would be retiring at the end of 2018.
Agenda Item #4: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll reported on the visit by the Board President and staff to the Town of Milton, the ongoing work on the 2019 budget, work on the new customer relations system, work on storytelling and rebranding, Town Fair, review of the current dues formula and whether it needs to be revised, as well as a brief mention of the member survey results. President Cloud suggested that working groups be established for the rebranding project and the dues formula discussion.
Agenda Item #5: Financial Update. Mike Gilbar presented the second quarter financial report and responded to questions. On motion duly made by Member Cadwell and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board unanimously voted to accept the second quarter VLCT financial report as presented.
Agenda Item #6: Review of Legislative Matters and Municipal Legislative Policy. Karen Horn and Gwynn presented the amendments that were offered to the municipal policies as drafted by the policy committees. The Board thoroughly discussed all of the amendments and took the following action:
Add to 1.01, K -12 Education. Petition the Judiciary to repeal the education property tax, permanently ending the Agency of Education’s discrimination against residential homeowners, and compelling the Vermont Legislature to seek a more equitable source for funding our children’s education. (Amendment offered by Castleton Selectboard)
On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously voted to decline to endorse the amendment.
Amend 2.01, Transportation Additional Funding Priorities (2), to read
increasing the gas tax and dedicating new revenues to support municipal transportation obligations;
On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Fraser, the Board unanimously voted to decline to endorse the amendment.
Delete 4.07 Health Care (4)
The “whole population” health care model, which engages partners across many sectors to improve the individual experience of care, reduces per capita cost of care, and improves the health of the population;
–Amendments offered by the Barre Town Selectboard
On motion duly made by Vice President Weinberger and seconded by Member Cadwell, the Board unanimously voted to decline to endorse the amendment.
Add 4.01, Housing (2), to read
2. The Department of Health or other appropriate state agency establishing and funding a professionally staffed statewide program for inspection of rental housing and enforcement of rental housing codes that provides for delegation to municipalities who determine that municipal administration and enforcement is optimal. (Amendment offered by VLCT Advocacy Staff)
On motion duly made by Member Pinsonault and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to endorse the amendment to read:
2. Establish and fund a professionally staffed statewide program for inspection of rental housing and enforcement of rental housing codes that provides for delegation to municipalities who determine that municipal administration and enforcement is optimal.
There was also a lengthy discussion about the issue of dispatching in Vermont and what should be done to ensure that the system works, is fair and that appropriate levels of government are funding the system.
Agenda Item #7: Nominating Committee Report. Member Cadwell, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported on the results of the meeting held by the Committee earlier in the day. On motion duly made by Member Elwell and seconded by Member Beckett, the Board unanimously voted to support the Nominating Committee’s report recommending that Kenneth Linsley, Selectboard member from Danville, be on the slate of candidates for consideration by the membership at the Annual Meeting.
Agenda Item #8: Appointment of Credentials Committee. The Board appointed Members Pinsonault, Beckett and Goulette to the Credentials Committee.
Agenda Item #9: Potential Bylaw Amendment. Maura Carroll discussed with the Board the staff’s concern that the bylaw requirement that a Board meeting be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting precluded the Board from participating in training on the first day of Town Fair. The Board discussed the issue and agreed that the presence of the Board in formal session at Town Fair is important and should be continued. The Board did not think that a consideration of a bylaw amendment at this time was warranted.
Agenda Item #10: Town Fair Update. Maura Carroll reminded Board members to register for Town Fair, asked the Board to continue the practice of formally thanking exhibitors for their participation throughout the event and discussed the schedule of events involving the Board.
Agenda Item #11: Other Business
b. Member Initiatives
Member Whittaker is stepping down from the Board after the Annual Meeting and spoke about his time on the Board, his concern that only a limited number of legislators had any experience with local government and his concern that state government has become more “siloed” and less responsive to the public and to local officials.
He spoke of his respect for the Board and staff and about how much he has enjoyed his time on the VLCT Board. Board members thanked Member Whittaker for his service.
On motion duly made by Member Beckett and seconded by Member Cadwell, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 2:45 p.m.