Members of the Steering Committee met at the Library Monday, October 21.


Steering Committee Looks to Future-City Leaders Want Unified Approach

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Thursday October 24, 2013

Monday, October 21 found twelve city leaders seated at one table discussing the future of South Burlington. The quarterly Steering Committee meeting provides an opportunity for the School Board and City Council to meet as one body to discuss individual and shared concerns and goals.  

School Board members present: Chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Superintendent David Young, Diane Bugbee, Julie Beatty, Martin LaLonde, and Dan Fleming. City Council members present: Chair Pam Mackenzie, City Manager Kevin Dorn, Rosanne Greco, Helen Riehle, Pat Nowak, and Chris Shaw. Others Present: Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard, Project Director Ilona Blanchard.

The minutes of the July 15, 2013 Steering Committee meeting were approved by consensus.

Audit/Inventory of City/School Services: Consolidation efficiencies connected to cost savings were discussed.  David Young and Kevin Dorn met to discuss and brainstorm areas where collaboration and cost savings could occur. The preliminary list includes community library/high school library, city/school grounds upkeep,  community use of schools, shared transportation, bus garage space, master electrician, and Department of Public Works services. There was discussion of the City using some of the school IT resources, while the City is working on hiring an IT professional. In addition, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Pam Mackenzie, Kevin Dorn, and David Young have been meeting on a bi-monthly basis to set agendas and discuss how to achieve outcomes.

 City/School Facility Master Plan:  The School 20/20 connection to the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was discussed.   Kevin Dorn reported that a public facilities task force has been developed to evaluate the viability of build out of major structures suggested for City Center, such as a library, City Hall, and an entertainment facility. The task force will finish their work by the end of the year. David Young stressed the need to work in harmony and have school representation on the committee to help vet the work, collect information, and inform the public. Chamberlin principal Holly Rouelle will be a member of the task force. 

Taxes:  The Steering Committee talked about understanding the implications the respective approved budgets have on taxes.   Without going into any details on numbers, both the council and school board members agreed that there needs to be coordination between the two entities around budgets to assure taxpayers do not receive any surprises. 

Interim Zoning Committee updates:  Helen Riehle said that the open space committee has been meeting and is close to a final plan. Kevin Dorn reported that the form based codes committee has created a new, broader map for City Center. The Planning Commission will be holding the public component on this piece on their timeline. Martin LaLonde stated the school board’s intention to present to council a safety letter regarding prohibited uses in a school safety zone. The affordable housing committee has already been before the planning commission and their major area of focus is developing a land trust and finding funding for it. The sustainable agriculture task force is developing a recommendation to bring to the planning commission. 

Community Learning Opportunities through CCV, and Distance Learning: David Young discussed how South Burlington can enhance learning opportunities for residents in addition to what is offered by the recreation department. Both the councilors and school board members discussed mutually beneficial relationships between school and city programs such as having Technology for Tomorrow students teach adults about new computer or social media programs while students who are interested in public service or politics can shadow the City Manager for a day, for example.  

Pre-K services and  Benefits: Pam Mackenzie said that the first meeting between the Vermont Business Roundtable and the South Burlington School District is scheduled for  October 22 to discuss a pilot program for kids. This is simply the initial conversation about South Burlington being a test site, but there is interest from South Burlington’s legislative delegation as well.  Future Meeting logistics: It was agreed that hard conversations on items like taxes should be broached in more detail and looking ahead at topics that are going to become important for the City in the future should be planned as well. Prior to the next steering committee meeting on January 22, the committee will hold a facilitated prioritization session (date TBD). 

There weren’t any other items to come before the Committee 

The meeting adjourned at 6:50. 

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent