MINUTES OF VALA
MAY 2, 2007
The meeting was called to order
by President Mark Paulsen with 19 present as follows:
Galen E Mudgett, Jr Sharon Windsor
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Carlton Domey Cabot Washington
Howard Burgess Rutland Rutland
Terry Knight PVR
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Bruce Shields Eden Lamoille
Jim Libby VHCB*
Noel Walker Fairlee Orange
Sheldon Smith Topsham Orange
Yvonne Ruda-Welch Unifund
Camilla Roberts Rockingham Windham
Emily Higgins CHT**
Tom Vickery Stowe/Waterbury
Peter Rimsa Proctor Rutland
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
Mark Paulsen Colchester
Todd LeBlanc S. Burlington Chittenden
Pat French Randolph Orange
*Vermont Housing and
A motion was made by Sheldon
Smith to accept the minutes of the March 8, 2007 meeting. The
motion was seconded and passed.
The Treasurer’s Report was
read by Pat French and is as follows:
Balance 3/31/07 $ 3,703.71
Dues Received $ 0.00
Total expenses $142.00
Ending Balance 4/30/07 $
A motion was made by Randy
Viens to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded
Mark commented that while there
wasn’t too much in the Legislature affecting Listers, it would be
a good idea to keep watch of the exemptions that will be Ôsunsetting’
this year. It looks as if they will be extended another year.
Regarding Veterans Exemptions, when the exemption increased from
$10,000 to $20,000, there was not a clear explanation that only the
first $10,000 was exempted from taxation by the State, the town
had to make up the difference. With the increase from $20,000
to $40,000, the base exemption has been raised from $10,000 to $20,000,
with the towns picking up the additional $20,000.
It was commented that the State
should increase the base to keep up with inflation.
Some language has been added
to the rules on subsidized housing to capture the wording that was originally
intended when the subsidized housing was put in place. There have
been concerns about the property tax adjustment payments on home sales
between April 1 and June 30. There was talk that on sales before
June 30, the payment would go to the seller and on sales after July
1, to the buyer. This has raised a lot of controversy as to who
was responsible for taking care of the adjustments. It appears
that the closing attorneys should handle it at closing along with any
other prorating that is appropriate.
The tentative education tax
rates will be $.89 for residents and $1.38 for non residents.
The Current Use automation
process program appears to have gone well without many complaints.
David Bolton has resigned and
is moving to Virginia; his position is being advertised.
The equalization appeals are
done. PVR has moved into their new offices.
TOEC’s—Attendance was down;
there wasn’t much for Listers and the Extension Service should realize
how important Lister issues are because they make up approximately 50%
of the attendees.
Short Staffed; Christie, Glenda
and Doug have been out and PVR felt they couldn’t squeeze any more
out of the staff.
The IAAO 101 class scheduled
for next week in Rutland and to be taught by Bob Estey has been cancelled.
There were only 10 people who signed up which was not enough to hold
Ways and Means will be enabling
the summer study on Current Use. Mark testified before Ways and
Means and said that the people that testified before him feel the Current
Use program is great, with nothing wrong with it and should be expanded.
Mark testified that the Listers are not necessarily anti- Current Use
but do have some questions and if the committee were made up of only
those who want to continue with the program and/or expand it, then the
result is a foregone conclusion. Even if the Listers had questions,
they would be drowned out by the others on the committee. The
committee will include people from Forestry Dept, Fish & Wildlife
and the lobbyist from the Forestry Dept and others adamantly devoted
to the program. There will be a professional assessor, but they
haven’t said who that will be. Also, there has been $50,000
appropriated for a consultant.
There will be an APEX workshop
on June 15-this will be a demonstration type presentation rather than
hands on. There will be a charge for the workshop and may be taken
out of a town’s education allowance.
There was discussion on the
procedures of late filers of Homestead Declarations.
Jim Libby of the Vermont Housing
and Conservation Board (VHCB) gave an overview of the issue of determining
listed value of homes that are owner-occupied and subject to perpetual
resale restrictions. Grants are made to nonprofit housing corporations
by the VHCB to help homebuyers qualify for a mortgage and buy a home.
The restricted value of a property in this program usually becomes the
listed value. Much of the presentation, questions and comments
that followed are in the Vt. Dept of Taxes advisory bulletin-discussion
draft-which Mr. Libby handed out at the meeting.
Click here for a copy of this document.
Emily Higgins of the Champlain
Housing Trust provided a hand out with the formulas for determining
the purchase price and resale price of a property which also included
appreciation of and improvements to the property, etc. Click here for a copy.
At the March 8, 2007 meeting,
a recommendation was made that the Education Committee establish criteria
for education scholarships. Todd LeBlanc gave a brief report on
what has been developed thus far. Click here for the
Scholarship Eligibility Requirements document plus the Application for Scholarship. It is requested that the membership
look them over, and bring any suggestions/additions/deletions to the
Annual Meeting in September where a vote will be taken. Changes
to the bylaws will also need to be made.
Education: No Report
Exemptions: No Report
Rink issue in Montpelier is ongoing
Summer Studies on Current Use and Rolling Reappraisals
Equalization: No Report
Possibility of changing membership from individual to town. Dues
would have to be changed to compensate for loss in revenue to VALA,
cost of Annual Meeting, availability of scholarships
Utilities: No Report
Other business: Assessment
of generating plants in the state– The comment was made that
PVR does not have a current value for generating plants; that the last
evaluation was done about 20 years ago. A question was raised
as to the fairness of having to apply the CLA to utility property value
when the CLA is below 100% but not being able to if the CLA is above
100% as is with all other properties. The answer is that no, it is not
fair, but Vt. Statute says that utilities cannot be assessed over 100%.
So, while it isn’t fair, it is legal. After much discussion,
Todd moved that the meeting be adjourned. The motion was seconded