Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Members Present: Vice President Peter Elwell and Members Jessie Baker, Dominic Cloud, Bill Fraser, Mary Ann Goulette, Elaine Haney, Delsie Hoyt, Ken Linsley, Sandy Pinsonault, and Charles Safford. President Weinberger and Member Putnam attended via telephone.
Others Present: Julie Moore, Secretary, Agency of Natural Resources, VLCT staff members Karen Horn, Abigail Friedman, Jessica Hill, Joe Damiata and Maura Carroll.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the President. Vice President Elwell 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 Safford and seconded by Member Pinsonault, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Consent Agenda Items. On motion duly made by Member Safford and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.
Agenda Item #4: Discussion of Water Quality and Other Environmental Issues. Secretary Julie Moore spoke to the Board about PFAS, the Clean Water budget, municipal roads general permits, clean water service providers, wetlands regulation, nuisance trapping and the professionalization of the Natural Resources Board. She responded to inquiries from the Board and had an engaging dialogue with them.
Agenda Item #5: Organizational Update. Maura Carroll offered an update on two issues. First, she updated the Board about Local Government Day and confirmed that President Weinberger and she will be the luncheon speakers, focusing on the state of Vermont municipalities and what is needed to move municipalities forward. Also, she reported that Commissioner Chris Cole and the Department of Buildings and General Services has a new approach to and proposal for energy efficiency projects in municipal buildings. Instead of VLCT hiring project managers and overseeing the completion of the projects, BGS will hire the project managers whose services cities and towns can purchase. Local officials can also use the resources of the Office of Purchasing and Contracting to procure a contractor to complete the project. Municipalities finance the projects and fund them through long-term energy savings. VLCT would assist in marketing the program to members.
Agenda Item #6: Health Addendum and Personnel Policy Update. Human Resources Director Jessica Hill explained that the cash buyout update was mistakenly left off the Health Addendum presented at the December Board meeting. On motion duly made by Member Pinsonault and seconded by Member Goulette, the Board unanimously voted to approve the changes cash buyout presented in the Health Addendum. Ms. Hill also explained the reason for the proposed changes to the Personnel Policy regarding paid leave time. On motion duly made by Member Wonsor and seconded by Member Safford, the Board unanimously approved the changes to the Personnel Policy.
Agenda Item #7: Embezzlement and Fraud. Municipal Assistance Center Director Abby Friedman, and Risk Management Services Director, Joe Damiata, provided the Board with information about what both MAC and PACIF are doing and plan to do to assist members with the issue of municipal fraud. It included training, resources and coverage issues. The Board was enthusiastic about reading a book written by Charles Hall on local government fraud and potentially making that available to all VLCT members.
Agenda Item #8: 2020 Legislative Outlook. Karen Horn discussed a number of legislative issues with the Board, including economic growth and tax increment financing, marijuana taxation and regulation, EMS, incentives for workforce housing, cybersecurity, state historic tax credits, school construction costs, the tax structure commission study and Act 250, especially the designated downtown exemption from the Act’s requirements and the professionalization of the Natural Resources Board. She responded to questions and comments from the Board. There was lively discussion by the Board on all issues presented.
On motion duly made by Member Cloud and seconded by President Weinberger, the Board, by roll call, voted to support the creation of one statewide professional board to govern Act 250 projects.The Board voted 11-1 as follows: voting to support the position were President Weinberger, Vice President Elwell, Members Baker, Cloud, Fraser, Goulette, Haney, Hoyt, Linsley, and Safford. Voting to oppose to the position was Member Putnam. Member Pinsonault was not in the room for the vote.
The Board also agreed to form a focus group to discuss the option to exempt designated downtowns from the provisions of Act 250. The group will meet on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 10:00 to noon at the VLCT office in Montpelier.
Agenda Item #9: Other Business. Member Goulette volunteered to serve on the Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology Committee and Member Cloud volunteered a member of the St. Albans City staff to serve, as well.
On motion duly made by Member Linsley and seconded by Member Wonsor, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn at 3:10 p.m.