Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Members Present: President Miro Weinberger, Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Elaine Haney, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, George Putnam, Charles Safford and Lucrecia Wonsor.
Others Present: Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Josh Hanford, Commissioner of Housing and Community Development; Community Planning and revitalization Director Chris Cochran; Planning and Policy Manager Jacob Hemmerick; and VLCT staff Mike Gilbar, Karen Horn, Gwynn Zakov, Abigail Friedman, Jessica Hill, Elena Esteban, Lisa Goodell and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. President Weinberger called the meeting to order at 12:22 p.m. and welcomed all to the meeting. Since two new Board members and guests were present, all introduced themselves.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and Deletions to the Agenda. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Baker, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda as presented.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Goulette and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.
Agenda Item #4: Legislative Proposal. Representatives of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development discussed a proposal to address the lack of affordable housing and encourage accessory dwelling units and denser development in designated downtowns and designated neighborhood development areas. They are meeting with a number of potential partners on the legislation and realize that the details of the legislation will be important to all. They expressed an interest in removing some of the Act 250 requirements and avoiding unfunded mandates. There will be further discussion when the legislation is available for review.
Agenda Item #5: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update on issues being addressed and projects underway at VLCT, including the ongoing CRM project, planning for 2020 trainings, the completed Compensation and Benefits Survey, presentation and sales training for staff, preparation of a formal plan for the 2020 budget-based priorities, development of a potential new dues formula and follow-up on the energy efficiency project.
Agenda Item #6: Third Quarter Financials. Mike Gilbar provided the Board with an update of the VLCT financials through September 30, 2019. Mr. Gilbar responded to inquiries from the Board. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Cloud, the Board unanimously voted to accept the third quarter financial report.
Agenda Item #7: VLCT Dues Formula and Proposed 2020 Dues. Mike Gilbar presented the details of the 2020-21 dues and explained the reasons for the increases, including a higher increase than was anticipated for associate member dues to bring them more on par with dues paid by small community regular members. On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously approved the 2020-21 dues rates. Staff will notify the membership soon.
Agenda Item #8: Issues of Local Government Embezzlement. President Weinberger and Member Cloud asked that this item be placed on the agenda for discussion. The Board discussed ways that VLCT might help members to be more aware of fraud issues through training and other resources and discussed the potential for providing financial incentives to members that do outside audits. At the Board’s direction, staff will pursue the development of resources, training, incentives and input from other organizations, while maintaining sensitivity to the needs of both large and small communities in Vermont.
Agenda Item #9: Strategic Asset Alliance (SAA) Contract. Maura Carroll explained that the SAA contract had expired and needed to be renewed for 2020. Mike Gilbar responded to specific questions from the Board about the contract and the services provided by SAA and our other investment consultant. The plan is to put these services out to bid during calendar year 2020. On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Member Putnam, the Board unanimously voted to authorize Maura Carroll to sign the contract on behalf of VLCT.
Agenda Item #10. Town Fair Debrief. Lisa Goodell provided a report to the Board about the success of VLCT’s 2019 Town Fair and responded to questions from the Board. The Board was pleased with Town Fair and offered to assist staff in 2020 by contacting officials in those communities that have not recently attended the event. Board members offered congratulations and thanks to Lisa and staff for a job well done. On motion duly made by Member Putnam and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously voted to authorize Ms. Goodell to schedule the 2021 Town Fair at the Killington Grand Hotel on October 6 and 7, 2021.
Agenda Item #11: 2020 VLCT Board Meeting Dates. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Linsley, the Board unanimously voted to adopt the 2020 Board schedule, as amended, to include the following meeting dates: January 16, February 13, March 12, April 9, May 7, June 11, July 16, September 3, September 30 (in conjunction with Town Fair), November 12 and December 10, 2020.
Agenda Item #12: General Legislative Issues. Karen Horn and Gwynn Zakov discussed the meeting earlier in the day of the Self-Governance Focus Group and members of that group offered comments. There was lively discussion by the Board about the issue. Ms. Horn and Ms. Zakov also discussed the status of other legislative issues, including: tax structure equity, education and transportation funding, clean water – including stormwater rules and wetlands regulations, tax increment financing, marijuana taxation and regulation, cybersecurity, public records and overweight vehicles. The Board asked for an update from the State at a future meeting on the issue of total daily maximum load.
Agenda Item #13: Other Business. Member Cloud raised the issue of an Ethan Allen Institute Report on local government finance and will send a copy for review and possible discussion at a future Board meeting.
Without objection, the Board adjourned the meeting at 3:12 p.m.