“Tax lister” is an incorrect term for the designated person elected by the townspeople to list their properties.  Adding the word “tax” implies that we somehow set the tax on a property.  We list the property and its buildings and outbuildings.

The following is the explanation from the website of the state Department of Taxes Division of Property Valuation and Review:

“Programs that are primarily administered by municipal governments are supported by the Division of Property Valuation and Review.  We work extensively with local governments in the performance of their duties.”

“The primary responsibility of the lister is to determine the fair market value of your property; all real property commonly know as real estate is assessed.  Real property is defined as land and any permanent structures attached to it.  This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills.”

“In order to accomplish this goal, listers must understand appraisal methods and property assessment administration in Vermont.”

The term “lister” in the Vermont sense if lost in the mists of time.  Even the dictionaries do not have a definition for the job we do, but basically it came from a time when an appointed official from the town came and made list of what you owned on your property.  Way back when, that included windows in your house, a variety of animals, your wagon, plow, etc.  Thank heavens we don’t do that any more; the job is hard enough as is.

So please don’t attach the word “tax” to “lister”; they aren’t one and the same, and they don’t go together.  You as the voter in your town determine the municipal tax rate, the state determines the education tax rate, and we listers just list.

Sandi Capponcelli
Town of Athens

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