John Fike

    Town of Colchester

    Property / Tax Specialist

     The Town of Colchester is seeking qualified applicants for the full time position of Property / Tax Specialist. Qualified applicants must be highly motivated, detailed oriented, organized and possess strong math skills. Applicants must be able to work independently and with others. Strong customer service skills are a requirement. Duties will include work in the Clerk/Treasurer’s office and Assessor’s Department including recording of vital records, tax bill generation and collection, tax exemptions, property inspections, property data compilation, analysis and reporting.

    Submit town application, cover letter and resume to Sherry LaBarge, Human Resource Manager, P.O. Box 55, Colchester, VT 05446 or email to October 29, 2014 or open until filled.  For a full job description and application go to   E.O.E


    The next VALA Bi-Monthly Meeting HAS BEEN CHANGED to Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at the Randolph Town Hall in Randolph, Vermont. 


    If you were unable to attend VALA’s Annual Meeting below are some of the items discussed:

    It doesn’t seem possible that I am completing my fifth year as your president. The organization is a much different organization than it was five years ago. The quarterly newsletter, new web-site, broader and larger membership, improved financial sustainability, Lister education, and increased legislative advocacy are just a few of the changes that have occurred during my tenure as your president.

    The past year has been a very busy one for the organization. The Legislative Committee and your president spent many hours in Montpelier testifying or working on committees for tax exempt properties, solar energy/ valuing solar farms, subsidized housing, and current use bills. Details of the impact of the bills will be discussed during the annual meeting.

    The Education Committees was busy with classes, workshops, and TOEC presentations. John Vickery’s Education Committee report is part of your packet.

    Membership Chair Penny Allyn has had a very productive year attracting new members with a state-wide marketing program to the non-member towns. Penny also is responsible for the quarterly newsletter and the web site

    Carol Hammond our long tenured Secretary is retiring this year and I will certainly miss her valuable assistance and input.

    The Annual Meeting Committee has planned a high paced and interactive agenda for September 19th. Each member attending the annual meeting will receive a “thank you” bag of goodies. There will be a drawing for a 2015-16 membership for a lucky pre-registered member.

    What goals we are looking to achieve in 2014-2015? If you approved the slate of officers that the Board has recommended, it will be my sixth and final year as your president.

    • There will be transition of responsibilities to the future administrative team during the next year
    • We will be working with VLCT to be part of their state-wide venues to familiarize and educate other municipal officials on the work and responsibilities of listers. The annual meeting may be part of this plan.
    • Your education committee will be exploring new ways to broaden our lister education agenda to meet the needs and expectations of all of our members.
    • The Board will be asking for feedback on new services that the members feel are necessary to meet the changing demands for Listers.
    • Your Legislative Committee will be reviewing proposed legislation that could impact Listers during the second half of the current session.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    John Fike, VALA president

    The mission of the VALA Education committee is to offer multiple educational opportunities which will enhance the understanding of the assessment profession throughout the State of Vermont.

    Throughout the year Listers/Assessors have had multiple opportunities to attend appraisal courses, workshops, and webinars at reasonable prices in many different locations throughout the State of Vermont.

    VALA sponsored a 2-day workshop IAAO 155 Workshop on Depreciation analysis. This course was held on October 22nd – 23rd 2013.

    In addition the Education Committee prepared a 2.5 day workshop IAAO 452 Fundamentals of Assessment Ratio Studies. It was to be held on August 18th – 20th. This workshop was canceled due to low attendance. The committee will hold this workshop on November 5 – 7, 2014 in South Burlington, Vermont. VALA members get a $40.00 discount to attend this workshop.

    This past April the Town Officers Education Conference (TOEC) was held in Burlington, Killington and Lake Morey. Workshops specific to Lister’s interest were presented by the VALA education committee, NEMRC and PV&R. TOEC offers many other hour long workshops for Listers, Clerks, Planners, Treasurers and other municipal officials.

    Each year Property Valuation and Review offers a number of courses and workshops related to the appraisal of real estate and assessment policies. These appraisal workshops and courses put on by PV&R often are part of the Vermont Appraiser Certification program. Getting a VT Appraiser Certification will provide proof of your expertise in the field of real estate assessment to others.

    PV&R recently offered Lister Training workshops, Data Collection, and IAAO courses. These educational programs can be found at the

    Several times a year NEMRC and Microsolve webinars are offered to keep Listers updated with changes to the software.

    John Vickery, Chair Education Committee


    The Legislative Committee spent many hours, days and some evenings in House and Senate this past session.

    There were three major bills that were being followed:  Shared Equity Housing, Solar Capacity Tax and Current Use.

    Current Use – Along with the Current Use tax Coalition, we worked very hard to get some necessary changes we felt the program needed.  The House passed a bill that was sent to the Senate where it died when various senate committees could not come to agreement on language of how to improve Current Use.

    Shared Equity Housing – Champlain Housing Trust and The Vermont Housing Conservation Board attempted to have housing trust properties valued at the “Covenant Price”.   We successfully persuaded the Legislature that this was not a correct method of valuing these properties.  Although we did not persuade them that full fair value was appropriate, we came out quite well when the final bill that passed stated the basis of value would be between 60% and 70 % of fair market value.

    Solar Capacity Tax – Solar advocacy organizations were proposing for municipal taxation, that large solar facilities be taxed at $4.00 per kW, just as they are being taxed for state education monies.  This would have substantially reduced the amount paid to municipalities with large solar facilities.  A group was formed with the solar organizations including VALA, VLCT and PV&R to come up with an agreeable methodology to value solar facilities.  The income approach was agreed upon using the Sandia Model or similar model as determined by the Director.  The final valuation would be 70% of the average value arrived at from this income approach.  For net metered facilities the first 50kW are exempt.

    There will be training and bulletins on using the income model in the near future.

    There were many minor changes in H.295 (Technical Tax Bill) that we can mention if there is interest.

    Randy Viens Legislative Committee


    Town memberships – 100

    New member towns –  30

    New and/or returning members –  88

    Total memberships –  264

    Professional members –  13

    Revenues current membership year –  $5,185.00

    Penny Allyn, VALA Membership Chair

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