In follow up to my note last week, the Selectboard will be meeting Tuesday night to discuss goals for the next budget year. The public is welcome, although there’s no public discussion scheduled. Input will be allowed per the Chair’s discretion.
This is an important meeting because the discussion may involve which services to cut and which to expand.
If you can’t attend the meeting, please look for follow-up information. I’ll do my best to share what I’ve learned — but please help me inform others if you can.
I’d like to share my recommendations to the Chair in anticipation for the meeting. You can download and print my recommendations here: Municipal Goals
For simplicity, I’ve created a long-term/short-term chart. More detailed information follows.
Input on Municipal Goals & Objectives for the Town of Northfield
August 30, 2016. Retreat Meeting of the Selectboard
Northfield’s goal is to earn a reputation as a great place to live, work and relax. Northfield strives to be the first choice in Central Vermont when people consider buying a home, starting a business or finding a school for their children.
Community & Economic Revitalization
o In follow-up to the VDAT and Brownfield studies, hire a Community & Economic Development employee to initiate implementation of study recommendations.
- Funds for new-hire to be allocated from the Town’s Economic Development Fund with future funds provided by municipal grants won by Economic Development employee, or via a contractual partnership with a private non-profit partner.
o Apply for Village Center Designation to support infrastructure development and business tax incentives in the Falls neighborhood area.
o Form a contractual relationship with a community development corporation to act as a public engagement, grant-applicant partner.
o Ensure Zoning Bylaws are streamlined to provide for new development opportunities, such as those suggested in the Town’s Brownfields Conceptual Plan. Apply for Municipal Planning grant to hire an expert consultant to update Bylaws to modern standards.
New Housing Initiative
o Apply for Neighborhood Areas program (1/4-mile buffer around Village Center Designated areas) to provide tax incentives for housing development.
o Pass a Housing Tax Stabilization to support non-industrial/commercial property development. (Simple majority to pass.)
o Construct Dog River Greenway foot/bike path as shown on Brownfield Program Conceptual Plan.
o Review Road Surface Management System to assess the following:
- Funding Capacity vs. Implementation Capability
- Determine a funding strategy based on feasible implementation vs. per-year allotments
o Apply for FY2018 Better Roads Program Category B grant to help pay for rock-lined ditching.
o Apply for a VTrans Bicycle & Pedestrian Program grant to construct new sidewalks extending from the Falls to the Norwich Apartments
o Based on RSMS review, formulate a “Big Dig” initiative with a long-term purpose to reduce wear and tear on roads and highways from winter frost.
- Prioritize on current traffic usage vs. historical paving/maintenance schedule
- Dig to lowest frost-line levels and build new roadbeds to maximize drainage.
- Use VTrans best practices
Municipal Workplace Professional Development
o Encourage municipal staff and elected officials to attend VLCT professional development workshops relevant to their service throughout the FY year. When appropriate, hire VLCT to provide on-site workshops.
o Identify similar Vermont communities and initiate a Mutual Municipal Partnership program with a purpose to provide networking and education for town employees and officials with peers in other communities with similar challenges and goals.