WHAT’S HAPPENING IN STATE TAX MAPPING
Leslie Pelch (VCGI) and I have seen many of the messages on this list about the parcel mapping initiative. We are worried that there are lots of different interpretations being suggested and that the program might be dismissed as unworkable before it is even fully formed.
1. Right now this is just a preliminary discussion between a number of state agencies and departments, nonprofits and professional organizations like VLCT and VALA, as well as VCGI (the state digital mapping data warehouse) and the Regional Planning Commissions. Mapping consultants have been invited into the conversation as well.
2. We know that our citizens are interested in access to data. Recently a volunteer citizens group assembled the current parcel mapping information for Richmond into a mapping program and published the maps for other citizens to use. The project seemed well received. The goal of the current working group, including the representatives from VALA and VLCT is to come up with a way to have reliable and up-to-date consistent parcel data for every town that can be made available to citizens, municipal departments, state agencies and others. One of the particular needs is good parcel mapping data for disaster preparation and emergency response in disasters. We believe that there are many of these issues that are of interest to towns and to others. The goal is to find a solution that meets all the participants needs without overburdening any single participant.
3. One of the core principles of the working group is the recognition that the parcel mapping data is primarily a municipal resource. All of the discussions recognize that the project cannot be successful without a high level of involvement by municipalities in the planning, implementation and maintenance of the program. Once the discussions reach the point where there are some feasible ideas, there will be further discussions about the proposal. The discussions are still at an early stage. It is our hope that all of the municipalities in the State will recognize that sharing this resource will return additional benefits to citizens, municipalities, business and others and will contribute to the discussion about how this resource can be more fully developed in the future.
4. We have discussed a variety of different ideas related to funding sources and program structure, ranging from providing direct monetary support to municipalities to fund updates to the parcel maps using a common data format in exchange for sharing the updated data; or if a municipality wants parcel maps but does not have the resources to obtain them, providing monetary support to generate the parcel maps for the municipality using the common data format; all the way up to setting up a state program that would collect data on changes to the state wide parcel maps and automatically update the maps over time as parcels boundaries change.
5. There is no final arrangement or plan. VTrans has funds to conduct a study that will look at the benefits (to them and other state entities) of statewide parcel data and possible funding/program structures. That study will happen this summer/fall, and will likely involve contacting and talking with listers and other town officials.
6. The reason that we haven’t simply thrown this idea directly out to all listers, and other town officials (though it has not been a secret, we have done presentations about it at several different forums) is that we were considering too many options and had nothing concrete to propose. As soon as there are some viable alternatives, we will seek input from all the stakeholders, particularly the towns, so that if there is a program that can be set in motion, it is a program that everyone will find valuable.
7. Both VALA and VLCT have participated in the discussions. Many of the participants have been involved in either municipal government or work closely with municipalities on many projects and understand the importance of working closely with the municipalities to find a program that works for all parties.
Property Valuation and Review
Vermont Department of Taxes
133 State Street
Montpelier VT 05633-1401
802 828 6638
Leslie Pelch, GISP
VT Center for Geographic Information
58 S. Main St, Suite 2
Waterbury, VT 05676