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Capital Planning Task Force Looks to the Future (3/99)


When Ben Rose took over as executive director of the GMC in June 1998, one area he targeted for attention was a long-range view of GMC capital needs. In August, Ben formed a Capital Planning Task Force. Its goal was to “fit the various funds and projects into a coordinated, achievable package which implements the GMC’s Long Range Plan”. As president of the Burlington Section, I was asked to serve on the task force.

Over the next five months, we met four times. We began with a laundry list of the many projects and proposals facing the GMC over the next five years. These ranged from expansion of the headquarters in Waterbury Ctr. to the planned relocation of the Long Trail north of the Winooski River. Some projects were more pressing, such as field staff housing; others, such as a footbridge across the Winooski River, were further down the road. Taken together, they presented a formidable challenge to the fund raising apparatus of the GMC.

At each of our meetings, we took a closer look first at the capital and operating expenses of the GMC and then at the means at our disposal to meet these expenses. Throughout the process it was always a basic assumption that the efforts of the GMC to protect and maintain the Long Trail would remain as the top priority, with the continuation of the Long Trail Protection effort as the GMC number one priority for the foreseeable future.

At our final meeting on February 22, we concluded our task. The net result is a report delivered to the Board of Directors at the March 20 meeting. This report contains the recommendations of the Capital Planning Task Force over the next five years. These recommendations are broken out by line item to closely match the GMC budget.

Highlights of the capital planning recommendations:

  • The GMC should move forward with plans to build field staff housing near the Waterbury Ctr. headquarters and should work to acquire land to move this project forward.

  • The GMC should make regular contributions to its major endowments so that they can be allowed to grow, thereby providing financial stability to the GMC.

  • Some of the growth pressure at the headquarters should be relieved by various projects to expand office space.

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