Pat Nowak

2017 City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Pat Nowak

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Thursday February 23, 2017

Pat Nowak, 2 year term

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

Occupation: Financial Advisor  

Years as SB Resident: 35   

1.What do you see as the single most pressing concern for the City of South Burlington, and how would you address that issue? (100 words)

Economics and property tax stability is a very pressing concern for many South Burlington residents. With the devalued University Mall in flux, we need to ramp up the private development commercial mix in the TIF area and look at expanding the TIFcoverage area as well. We have wonderful residential communities in SB and it’s important to offer off-setting tax revenue producing business growth in our commercial districts to provide a healthy balance for homeowners. With school budgets being a very important and critical part of our spending, we need stability on the municipal side of taxes.

2.Voter approval for the Market Street and Dumont Park Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) projects marked the start of City Center. What project(s) would you put forward as the next step in the development of City Center? What are the benefits/challenges of this project?(150 words)

I certainly see consideration for the new library and a performing arts center as something that many residents have expressed an interest in for Market Street. The library has a great following and as soon as a site is defined major fundraising can accelerate. Donors, grants and skillful fundraising like matching contributions are all being explored. And our challenge for this is to have enough private development in the TIF area to generate tax revenues to pay bonding as it comes forth. Same holds true for a performing arts center. It would be a wonderful addition for cultural and civic use. Both a library and performing art center can become a core center hub for gatherings for our community.

3.South Burlington has a unique relationship with Burlington International Airport (BIA), The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG), and the airport’s owner – the City of Burlington.
A) What is the councilor’s role as these competing interests grapple with governance, taxes, expansion, land use, noise, and home buy-outs/ demolition? What is your vision for the future of the airport?
B) If you are elected, how would you balance the needs of airport neighborhood homeowners with the needs of the City of South Burlington ? (400 words total)

A. We want mutual respect from both the Burlington and South Burlington communities. The Vermont Air National Guard and the airport have been neighbors with South Burlington before most SB residents were living here. I strive for solid communication between all entities. I stress that notification is essential when changes are going to occur and continual updates on the work being done at the airport. We want our city manager to have a seat at the table for meetings, which has been agreed to already. Annual or semi-annual meeting of the joint councils to discuss airport issues and topics.  Vision for the airport is to continue to be an economic engine for our region and state. The Vermont Air Guard is a 50 million dollar a year benefit to the greater community. Plus, fire and rescue, second to none, is available to South Burlington at no cost. I see the airport continuing under the same governance as today but with improved communication. I see the buyouts ending and sound mitigation commencing. This should mean millions of dollars to our airport neighbor residents for sound and energy mitigation. I see the Airport Sound Committee meeting every 2 months to keep issues and solutions current. We have enjoyed a very positive and productive relationship with the airport and VTANG for decades. This I see continuing and all entities prospering together. 
B. All homeowners have needs in South Burlington and while the airport has been a big focus lately, we are constantly making progress. My role with South Burlington residents has always been to be available for conversations and meeting with any neighborhoods regarding their concerns. East Terrace and the residents, students and renters. Butler Farm area on their flooding issues, South Village, Laurel Hill and their paving concerns. A councilor is someone to reach out to and get information. If we don’t know the answer, we research an issue and will be a voice for all your concerns.  

4.What are your views on growth in South Burlington regarding commercial and residential development, affordable housing, city services and infrastructure, and open space? (200 words)

Our city is in a growth area and maintaining a balance between residential and commercial growth is important. In recent years, we do not have a 50/50 balance as South Burlington had for a number of years. When we did, our taxes remained fairly stable. Now in order to keep taxes flat we would have to cut services or personnel. Neither is my choice. I prefer a balanced approach to growth for South Burlington. And to preserve space we must first examine growing in an infill manner. Keeping an eye on housing, learn what the stakeholders and developers are talking about that they feel are deterrents to building affordable housing. We can work with them to overcome obstacles thus keeping their costs in check and making more affordable units available.   

We have in place great infrastructure and can continue to develop areas that already have this within designated growth areas. Transportation in South Burlington is a challenge.We must keep an eye on improving public transit systems and exploring better engineering fixes to our congested traffic flows. I support open space preservation where practical and affordable in-line with our communities wants and needs. 

5. What is your long-term vision for the South Burlington community? If elected, what steps would you take in this direction?(100 words)

My vision is a thriving economy for South Burlington. The development of City Center and mall areas as a Mecca of activity, jobs, housing, entertainment and recreation. We can work harder at affordable housing. I see our Shelburne Rd. area with current vacancies revamped. Our parks maintained better with new financing in place. I see South Burlington as a true destination not a pass-through community. I see people wanting to live, work, raise their families and recreate here. South Burlington is a wonderful place to call home. I’LL WORK HARD AT BUILDING A PROUD TRADITION

6. Closing Statement (100 words)

I’ve lived in South Burlington for 35 years with my children attending our wonderful schools and becoming responsible adults. I have been a strong advocate for what I believe is a majority of residents. Over the past 4 years we have faced many challenges from hiring a new manager to resolving multiple lawsuits and city disputes. I have been instrumental in resolving those challenges. I have a strong background in finance and look at my fiduciary responsibility as critical. I’ll work very hard to bring balance to the City Council. I ask for your support and vote on March 7.