Update: Proposed that we look at city park lands through the lenses of planning, sustainability, open government, and budget. Each NPA will set their priorities for review of plans for park/s in their ward, including the sustainability goals, enforcement of park rules and city ordinances, and an open public process of planning and budgeting.

Dale Tillotson, Ward 7, and John Foss, Ward 4, are representing North End NPA on the planning committee for NIN 2010. The issues raised below have been culled from previous discussions of parks issues at our NPA. The discussion will continue at assembly meetings July 20, Aug 17, Sept 21, and Oct 19 to provide Dale and John with input to the NPA "NIN 2010" planning committee.

  • PARKS was the people's choice for NIN focus this year. Penny for Parks [PfP] was popular citywide. At NPA, residents have asked where the PfP money is going? What are the budget priorities for each park? How we can participate in specific plans for the park/s in our neighborhoods, creating individual plans with neighborhood focus? Why aren't dog license fees supporting the maintenance and monitoring of dog parks, and providing stipends for volunteers? Why aren't all dog park users required to have a BTV dog license to protect our pets' health and raise money for the dog parks from users? Why can't we create small neighborhood dog parks in every park in the city to relieve pressure on a few and so our pets can walk to the park instead of car-car? Other issues are highlighted as we apply a different lens through which we want to view our parks, and each one builds on the others creating an IMAX view of our city parks:

    LEGACY PROJECT views parks in terms of sustainability, environmental health, and open space protection. Do user fees cover costs of capital improvements, high standards of maintenance, monitoring of park use, and enforcement of rules and city ordinances? What is the status of open space protection in Burlington, and what are the current holdings and fund reserves of the Urban Wilds Conservation Legacy Program? Has the plan for it's mission and allocation received public review and update recently?

    OPEN GOV MONITORING: Are park's plans created and updated by open public process? Do residents have access to the decision process? Does the Parks Commission represent residents so that park uses affecting neighborhoods are reviewed at NPAs and in public hearings? Is the budget transparent, and are sound accounting practices scrupulously adhered to?  

    BUDGETS:: Residents want to have input when the budget is bring created. We want regular public cash and accrual budget reports at monthly Parks Commission meetings, with close attention to cost centers including line item year-to-previous-year comparisons and year-to-date total income and expenditures. We want to be able to trace every penny for parks -- from user fees, taxes, bonds, loans, grants -- every source of income and expenses. No more burying cash in the general fund to make it's way into the cash pool, no more paper bag cash transfers, dipping into petty cash or cash drawers. No more off-the-books transactions, barters, or personal loans. We demand completely transparent accounting of park funds, user fees set at market rate, and monthly open public budget review.

    CODE ENFORCEMENT: We want park use monitored and city ordinances enforced in our parks. We want the Parks Commission to hold public hearings to find out if ordinances are being enforced, and if there are problem areas that are not addressed by ordinances or park rules. We want park rules clearly posted for public viewing at park entrances and in areas of specific uses -- No fires, alcohol, dogs off leash signs on the beach.