Pat Nowak

2015 City Council Candidate Questionnaire:Pat Nowak

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Thursday February 19, 2015

2 Year Term

Education: BS Education, Salem State Univ., MA (Prof Designations) CLU, ChFC – American College, PA

Occupation: Financial Advisor, Co-owner Nowak & Nowak Financial Services, Williston, VT

Years as SB resident: 33 years

1. What skills uniquely qualify you for the position of city councilor?

As a resident of the airport neighborhood for 33 years, a current city councilor and acting chair, I bring years of appointed and elected experience in state and national organizations to the leadership of our community. During the past two years on the council, I have shown my ability to hear different perspectives and encourage positive dialogue on matters that are important to the community.  I also serve South Burlington in a variety of capacities both in my professional role as a financial adviser and also as a member of other civic minded committees and organizations. 

2.What do you feel is the single most pressing concern for the city, and what solutions/actions would you propose?

The opportunity we have in South Burlington with the vision of City Center becoming a reality is wonderful. We are well positioned with great schools, good infrastructure and good transportation in place to grow good jobs and businesses. It is a great time to be a resident of South Burlington as we build upon our successes, positive dialogues and efforts to grow our tax base. What I have heard from many residents is a great concern for property taxes. In assessing our city needs vs. current tax revenues, a way to mitigate rising taxes is to broaden our tax base.

3. What do you believe is the right balance and rate of residential and business/commercial/retail growth? What is the councilor’s role in determining and achieving this balance?

 There is no true magic number. I believe residential, commercial, retail and open space can all be in balance for South Burlington, provided we bring the appropriate amount of rigor and public debate to these pressing issues. There are some legitimate financial concerns that the community needs to discuss in balancing commercial and residential needs.  As a councilor, my role is to be a consensus builder for the community. 

4. What are your thoughts on the city’s plans for City Center (Form Based Code, TIF District financial obligations, wastewater allocations, infrastructure). What is your position on the Saxon Partner’s proposal to purchase Marcotte Central School for Phase 1 of its development plan to build City Center Commons?

For more than 20 years the dream for City Center has existed and now that journey is heading into a reality, and it is exciting.  The plans as pictured to date have combined citizen and stakeholder involvement. Many days and evenings saw City Hall filled as consultants gathered ideas and presented possibilities.  If the vision moves forward as proposed, the revenues generated and TIF funds will provide significant benefit to the community to address needs such as open space and city public facilities. 
At present the Master Vision and Planning Committee is exploring many options including the option of school consolidation.  A plan such as this, offers a great opportunity for revenue and public space possibility.  I have attended a number of the MVPC meetings and look forward to their recommendations being presented to the public.

5. South Burlington has a unique relationship with Burlington International Airport, the City of Burlington, and VTANG. Recurring topics of taxes, finance, traffic, land use, expansion, F-35’s, noise, and a changing neighborhood continue to pose concerns. The Chamberlin/BTV neighborhood planning committee will work to provide recommendations for a collaborative long-term vision for the neighborhood and its relationship to BIA, which is owned by the City of Burlington. What is the council’s role in the outcome if consensus can’t be reached between competing interests?

The council has a responsibility to discuss and deliberate together all issues pertaining to the city. We also need to hear the opinions of the residents and stakeholders while considering the effects these decisions have on the revenues needed to handle our city’s needs.  Fostering collaboration, balancing community needs and facilitating consensus are vitally important to the continued maturity and vision of our city. In balancing positions and priorities, I will always be on the side of the best interest of the city and its residents.

6. Closing Statement

Our council meetings are not only open to the public but well attended by the residents.  I thank you for your continued engagement and involvement for the betterment of South Burlington. It is an honor and a privilege to serve South Burlington in such an active and interested community.

Mark your calendar to vote Tuesday, March 3, 2015