Michael Simoneau, Two-Year Term City Council Candidate

Two-Year Term City Council Candidate: Michael Simoneau

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Thursday February 27, 2014

Michael Simoneau

Education: University of Vermont, B.A.

Occupation: Business Owner and Commercial Real Estate Broker

South Burlington Resident over 30 Years

1. What skills uniquely qualify you for the position of City Councilor?

I listen before speaking;  I give respect in order to be respected;  I care in order to be cared for;  I offer opinions instead of telling people what to think;   I attempt to model the good behaviors I expect from others;   I remain determined in the face of conflict.Many of these “unique” skills are intangibles, but they are the foundation of my leadership style. They facilitate team building in order to create consensus. These skills have allowed for me to succeed professionally and personally. I’m excited to offer them in service to our Community!


2. If elected, what is your top priority for council and for the city? What action will be required? 

My top priority for the Council is to continue growing its’ respect and credibility in our Community.Important priorities include ensuring fiscal responsibility, supporting managed growth such as City Center, sustaining and enhancing neighborhood integrities such as Chamberlain, and integrating and preserving desired and valuable open spaces. We also need to collaborate with our School Board in the development of a more efficient education funding formula.Our Council needs to operate effectively with one another and the Community serve us. The current Council has made progress and there is much more to do!


3. What are your thoughts on post Interim Zoning development? What do you believe is the right balance and rate of residential and commercial growth? How will that be determined? What is the councilor’s role?

The sunset of Interim Zoning allows for planned residential and commercial growth to proceed without undue political influence.South Burlington’s development review process has historically been thoughtful and impartial. Municipal staff have always provided great guidance and service to applicants. Confidence in the predictability of this process is important.Our policies historically encouraged a 50%/50% split between residential and commercial development. Currently it is near 70% residential and 30% commercial. We have significant undeveloped commercial inventories and it would benefit us for more to be developed. More jobs and tax revenue are among the benefits.Our current comprehensive plan indicates an annual residential growth rate of 1.5% is desirable. This feels about right, but we should continue to study economic and demographic trends to anticipate rather than react to projected growth. Our City Council should facilitate this study in a non-political way.

4. South Burlington has a unique relationship with Burlington International Airport, the City of Burlington, and VTANG.  The topics of finance, expansion, noise and loss of housing pose recurring questions.  As the planning process begins, what is your vision for airport neighborhood redevelopment?  What is the council’s role in the outcome if there are competing interests and consensus can’t be reached?

Many have imagined visions for the redevelopment of the airport neighborhood. I am committed to listening first to better understand how the needs of the neighborhood and other stakeholders can be met.Planning is just beginning and will require patience and hard work, just as in City Center. I view the process as an opportunity to build our Community. It begins with being respectful and eventually developing trust. All the stakeholders need to be at the table for the outcomes to be credible.I believe that consensus will be developed. I believe that Burlington, the Airport, and VTANG are all committed to achieving outcomes that will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood and sustain the Airport economically. I do not anticipate our City Council having to impose an outcome that can’t be reached in the planning process!


5. Closing Statement

“If you are not part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem!”Many of us have heard this phrase before. It tells us that we need to get involved or live with the consequences.In the last few years I have been amazed at the number of people in our Community who are engaged to find solutions to our challenges. Their enthusiasm and commitment are a big reason for my candidacy. They demonstrate through their actions what we should all be doing at some levelI’m excited to add my energy to the task of improving our Community. There is no limit to what we can achieve if we work together! Your vote will allow for me TO SERVE YOU!