2018 Lister of the Year
2018 Michael P. Cyprian Lister of the Year
2018 Steve Jeffrey Lister of the Year Education Grant
Walter Hastings, Lister
Town of Royalton
The Town of Royalton nominates Walter Erdix Hastings, for the Lister of the Year award. As long-time resident of Royalton, Walter has shown himself as a valuable asset to the town in many facets of town government for over 41 years, as well as the Lister’s Office for 33 years. Some of the different boards and organizations he is currently involved with or has been a member of include;
Planning Commission 23 years, – Chair 15 of those years
Floodplain Zoning Administrator
White River Partnership – Board of Directors
Regional Commission Representative
Heartland Lions Club – Currently King Lion & District Governor of District 45 Lions.
Walter’s easy-going personality, open friendliness makes him approachable and engaging. His common knowledge on multiple topics, ranging from land record research, government, auto mechanics, farming and building race cars from scratch, to his ability to charm his friends into always paying for his drinks and meals, makes him a favorite around town. Spending 33 years visiting houses on our annual inspections is a time for him to renew old acquaintances and make new ones. Walter is always sure to welcome the new families into our town. Part of that welcome is reviewing with them how Tax Assessments work in Vermont, which includes a reminder for them to file their HS 122 form! You will often hear him concluding his advice with a chuckle in his voice, and a big grin on his face, saying; “We like apple pie, and no bribe is too small!”
Because of Walter’s eclectic interests and affability, he often finds a connection with everyone; he is designated as the “Public Relations Lister”. When the listers are doing a site visit, and we get the “cold shoulder” from a property owner, who really doesn’t want us inside their house, (or even on their property) one of the listers will say to the property owner, “Well, if it is OK with you, Walter here will just ask you a few questions, while I walk around the house and double check the measurements for accuracy”. By the time the other lister has come full circle, Walter has managed to have disappeared into the interior.
We never know how long he will “shoot the breeze”, while he is assessing the interior, but as long as we have our measurements, we don’t really worry too much about it. Best case scenario- we will not have to pay for his lunch that day- or maybe even, ever…!
In a day and age when it is difficult to find anyone willing to work in an unappreciated job, with lower than average wages with no employment benefits, and yet be responsible for accuracy and equitability of nearly 1,500 parcels, and their owners, Walter has found the time in his life, around full-time work as a surveyor, and other community service events, to find the joy and benefit he can provide to others in assuring them our office is doing the best we can to be fair and equitable to each individual. He is always telling tax payers to come into the lister office to review their property record card, or to compare it to their neighbors if they think their parcel is unfairly assessed.
During one grievance hearing, a new parcel owner came into grievance with a list of comparables, and a map of his parcel with contour lines, and access issues. Prior to this grievance hearing, he had been into the lister office a couple times before, but his appeals fell on deaf ears, since his purchase price was way below our assessed valuation, and there were some other factors that probably effected the “fair market – arm’s length sale” definition. After the appellant’s presentation, and the lister’s deliberation, the lister’s significantly lowered his valuation based in the new information he presented. A year later, this property owner stopped into our office and thanked us for the valuation reduction. He stated, “I thought coming in would just be a waste of my time, as it appeared that you had already made up your minds. I think your decision was fair, and I was very impressed that you listened to my concerns”. Walter’s reply was; “We wish everyone would come to the grievance hearing with the type of information you provided. You did a great job in presenting us information we had not considered.” This is Walter, one to always give praise where praise is due, one who is willing to hear out the facts before making the final decision. At grievance hearings, he is always reminding the other listers, “Grievance Letters get the same respect as if the appellant is here in person”.
As a town resident all of his adult life, his remarkable ability to remember names, to know who is related to whom and how, to have surveyed (what seems to be half) the town of Royalton during his “day job”, and his knowledge of the Vermont Statues, he is a constant source of information in the town offices. Not only is he asked for by name when calls come into the lister’s office, often you will hear the Finance Manager, Town Treasurer and Town Clerk asking Walter for his advice and opinions. What is really scary is when attorneys are asking Walter for his advice and legal opinions as well! Walter is always happy and willing to give his opinion, whether he is clocked in getting paid his hourly lister wages, or at the local diner, eating another free lunch! Once you get to know Walter, you will soon learn that Walter always forgets his wallet at home, and is always right, although he has been known to change his mind, once in a while.
Walter has not only been an asset as a lister over the years, but a stable and dependable source of information regarding the different departments of our local government over the years, as Administrators, Treasurers, and Town Clerks come and go. The Municipal Office of Royalton feel that Walter is well deserved to be considered as a candidate of VALA’s LISTER OF THE YEAR award.
Jeff Barcelow- Lister
Rose Hemond – Finance Manager
Luann Bingham – Treasurer
Karmen Bascom – Town Clerk
Rita Hull – Assistant Town Clerk, Assistant Town Treasurer
2017 Lister of the Year
Jim Boyle – Paulett, Kitty Diggens – Groton, Terri Sabens – Essex
2017 Michael P. Cyprian Lister of the Year
2017 Steve Jeffrey Lister of the Year Education Grant
Sandra Clark, Lister
Town of Londonderry
I would like to nominate Sandra Clark for 2017 Lister of the year.
Sandra has been a lister since 2001. Sandra has worn many hats for the town to include Junior Instructional Ski Program Coordinator, Member of the School Club, Event Floral designer, Avid Golfer, proud grandmother, UConn Women’s basketball biggest fan and Chef & party planner extraordinaire. Although she wanted to retire a few times as lister, many years later she couldn’t leave the town without a well-functioning Lister’s office. Maybe next election, or not! She wants to make sure the town is going to be in good hands when she retires.
Sandra has always been great when it comes to hosting trainings at the town office building. PVR uses her files as examples during many trainings. Sandra has always gone beyond what is expected making new and seasoned Listers feel welcomed from all towns. She is very creative in her decorative handouts to the listers as they leave. She always decorates something to take home, from cupcakes with tiny Vermont flags on it, to a tiny house sketch on a little piece of graph paper and a little ruler glued to it. Her desserts are always very tasty too! She takes very good care of her fellow listers when hosting trainings in Londonderry. I think “Creative” is her middle name.
Her office is well organized and always up to date. VLCT visited her office for great ideas and examples to help with the Lister destruction list. She has perfect examples of how a file should look and be organized from property info files to Current use files. She has also gone to other town lister’s offices to help them when they need assistance.
She gives credit to all around her and little to herself.
When anyone comes into the Listers Office for any kind of assistance she is always willing, friendly and welcoming no matter how difficult the question or property owner may be. Sandra knows her market and defends the Londonderry values with confidence. She is very knowledgeable in the lister world and if she doesn’t know the answer she knows where to go to get it! After all – her husband was “Peter Clark” (known and beloved district advisor who is now deceased)!
One of her pastime activities is decorations with flowers or crafts. She is always helping someone with decorating someplace or something. Her favorite pastime events have been watching her granddaughters at their basketball games and she is very proud of who they are becoming and will tell you how great they are!
I feel Sandra Clark is a great example of a Lister in today’s complicated listing office.
2016 Lister of the Year
Shirley Fecteau-Highgate, Richard Bowen-Braintree, Rose Warner-Johnson, Louise Ferris-Burt-Bethel,
Pauline Moore-Manchester, Pat McNall- Fairfax, Janice Arnold-Grand Isle
2016 Michael P. Cyprian Lister of the Year
2016 Steve Jeffrey Lister of the Year Education Grant
Janice Arnold, Lister
Town of Grand Isle
Lister’s must be many things.
While in the office:
Accurate – during repetitive and sometimes monotonous analysis
While out in the field:
Punctual – for appointments and deadlines imposed by the State and Towns
Surefooted – to navigate unfamiliar, uneven and challenging terrain during inspections
Open minded – when encountering any number of surprises during inspections
Listers must also possess:
Total recall for the minute details gathered in the field
Saint like patience in dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly personalities encountered every day.
Wisdom to differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly
Cat like reflexes required when encountering the bad and the ugly
Superior Logic in distinguishing the difference between “git off’a my property” and the muzzle of a shotgun
Above all Listers must be diligent and thorough
The Lister whom we refer to today is a long time Town employee, a fixture if you will, you know – the one who knows every property and who owns it.
This Lister is passionate about the facts. Sometimes a little too passionate, often answering questions before they are completed. Frequently reminded to wait for the whole question to be asked before responding. Impatient, in a good way, comes to mind.
Way back in the 70’s, back when cows, dogs and sheep were counted, maintaining the Grand List was hard work. There were no such things as computers. The Grand List, and everything that goes along with it was done by hand, with the aid of only an adding machine and whatever schooling the Lister possessed.
This Lister also knows how to just sit for a spell if you were and reminisce about all the years gone by. Have you ever heard the story about the Lister who went to a house and asked if they had any dogs? You know the one where the lady answers “no” undeterred by the barking dog beside her. Credit this Lister, who, by the way, has also held the office of Assistant Town Clerk.
Fast forward to the late 1990. Medical issues forced this Lister to relinquish the position with the Town only to be beckoned back 3 ½ years and 5 surgeries later by a Town which was much in need of a Lister to return a muddled Grand List to its previous glory.
The Selectboard knew they needed help and they knew the skills they wanted in a Lister – accuracy, attention to detail, proof reading skills, someone possessing a knowledge of the Grand list. And they knew just where to find her.
Any town would be fortunate to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable Lister assisting townsfolk, minding the Grand List, and sharing the knowledge and experience she possesses with others. I know Grand Isle is.
By now some of you, and hopefully Janice Arnold, will know who is the VALA 2016 Lister of The Year.
Janice embodies all the Lister traits I just described. She knows her stuff and she has the Towns best interests at heart.
And it is fun to hear her reminisce about those years gone by.
Nomination by Sue Lawrence, Lister Town of Grand Isle.
2015 Lister of the Year
2015 Michael P. Cyprian
Lister of the Year Award
Town of Pawlet
VALA established the Michael P. Cyprian, Lister of the Year Award in 1991 to honor Listers and Assessors who demonstrate fairness to all, dedication, helpfulness, worked to improve the listing process and pursued better education for the assessment community.
The award is named for Michael P Cyprian who was the ‘Ultimate Lister’. He was active in his town, volunteering his expertise on many committees. He was well trained as a Lister and chose to become a professional appraiser. His integrity, his unquestioned fairness, and his ability to communicate with the townspeople, his sense of humor, and his high level of professionalism marked Michael’s eleven years as a Lister. He was an active VALA member and offered much Lister training.
The 2015 winner personifies the legacy of Michael P. Cyprian. Charles grew up in his home town and brings 80 years of personal historic information, as well as previous generations. His vast knowledge of the history of the community has been invaluable in solving parcel map questions, deed research, and finding boundary lines in the field.
Charlie, as he will know be recognized, has been a lister in the town of Pawlet for 16 years. Charlie has been tireless in improving, and educating the town officials and the public in the assessment process. Charles is a campaign for lister education, and continues to attend training classes. He has keen sense of lister procedure, duties, and responsibilities. He takes those responsibilities to heart, even outside the Lister office.
Charlie is continuing to encourage the town to stay on the cutting edge of technology with mapping, and was a driving force in setting up the GIS mapping for the town
Charlie is community minded, serving on the Cemetery Board, in the Grange, the church, school board, and senior groups.
Charlie has a farming background, and is very knowledgeable about the farming community in Pawlet. He has been very interested in the Vermont Current Use Program, and has collected data from Pawlet to determine the impact of OPAV and development rights on property owners.
His friendly demeanor encourages his fellow residents to discuss questions or problems they may have with their assessment to ensure accurate assessment values for the properties.
The other Pawlet Listers enjoy working with Charlie with his knowledge about the Town of Pawlet, its residents, and history.
Charles Mason will be the first annual recipient of the
“Steven Jeffrey Lister of the Year $250.00 Education Grant.”
John Fike, VALA President