MINUTES OF VALA
July 11, 2007
The meeting was called to order
by President Mark Paulsen with 28 present as follows:
Peter Rimsa Proctor Rutland
Tom Vickery Stowe/Waterbury
Janet Stowell Thetford Orange
Denise Adams Thetford Orange
Donna Durkee Thetford Orange
John Wetzel Fairlee Orange
Robert L Sanborn Chelsea Orange
Carlton Domey Cabot Washington
Doug Harvey Cabot Washington
Lyle K Morrison Grafton Windham
Lois Sippel Athens Windham
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Al Jerard Brattleboro Windham
Bruce Shields Eden Lamoille
Steve Jeffrey VLCT
Todd LeBlanc S. Burlington Chittenden
Terry Knight PVR
Yvonne Ruda-Welch Unifund
Peter Whitney St. Johnsbury Caledonia
Angie Abbatello Shaftsbury
Elaine Coonradt Shaftsbury
Pat French Randolph Orange
Priscilla Robinson Warren Washington
Cheryl S. Tudhope Orwell Addison
John Vickery Burlington
Mark Paulsen Colchester
Daphne Gratiot Pomfret Windsor
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
A motion was made by Peter
Rimsa to accept the minutes of the May 2, 2007 meeting. The motion
was seconded and passed.
The Treasurers report was read
by Pat French as follows, and accepted as read.
Balance 4/30/2007 $ 3561.71
Balance 7/11/2007 $ 3561.71
It was noted that as of July
1, 2007—dues are now due. Listers please take notice.
The membership application for both new and renewals are on the VALA
website, which is vtala.org, click on forms, and then membership.
All the information you need is on the form.
Also provided by Chuck Burt,
who updates and maintains our VALA website, was a report which gives
an accounting of the number of times the website has been accessed and
the geographic areas of those who have accessed the site. From
July 2 – July 8, 2007 there were 70 visits from 18 regions, with the
greatest amount from Vermont and Massachusetts. Thanks, Chuck,
for the information.
VLCT is in the process of developing
municipal policy for next year. A question Steve had for VALA
is on affordable housing-using the income approach to value and to
follow up on the land trust properties issues. The League is trying
to decide if they want to take a position for any Legislative changes
and would defer to VALA for direction. Some towns are not happy
with the income approach. Unique properties don’t fit the examples
and will need to be reviewed-they weren’t looked at carefully enough.
Income and expense reports for two years are to be provided for a clearer
understanding of the data. The only numbers that have to be accepted
are ones that are audited. If a housing project does not provide
that information, they lose their right to appeal. John Vickery
said that he had spoken with Bill Johnson and they liked the model John
presented at the TOECs which is mostly for single family homes and condos.
Steve said he is getting pressure from some towns who are upset about
the outcome of the development of the methodology regarding using the
income approach for multifamily non profits because these types of properties
are not paying their fair share of taxes.
Concerns were expressed that
there is a lot of information on this and other issues but because it
isn’t all in the same place, it is difficult to find. Guidance is
still needed from PV&R, but they are not able to give the help they
would like. Terry Knight suggested that perhaps a VALA/Lister roundtable
could be developed to help small towns through housing issues etc.
Much more discussion followed.
Another issue-the Think Twice
legislation — Steve said that VLCT hopes to revisit that issue and
sunset it in 2010 before it becomes law.
PV&R–Terry Knight reported
Preliminary sales reports have
been mailed out.
Still looking for a replacement
for Dave Bolton’s position
Looking for replacements for
Glenda Nye and Sandra Brodeur District Advisors positions
Charlene Lathrop will be teaching
three APEX classes in August
Bill Johnson is working on
subsidized housing and low income housing-information should be coming
Filing Current Use electronically
seems to working smoothly. There were good comments from the present
group. Discussion followed about various concerns.
Tom Vickery expressed the need
for a class in the income approach. There hasn’t been one offered
for a couple of years.
Mark reported that he had met
with the Ways and Means Committee when they were forming a task force
for studying Current Use. A number of people also meeting with
the committee were foresters and land conservationists who felt that
the CU program is not only good, but it should be expanded because the
state of Vermont will fall apart without the program. Mark commented
to the Committee that Listers have questions and concerns about the
abuse of the program.
There is a group who will write
a report about Current Use and present it to the task force who will
make recommendations to the Legislature. This group contacted
Mark to see if he would help write a report but he felt he couldn’t
because of conflict of interest. The task force will be
made up of foresters, land conservationists, &people from
the forestry and land conservation industries, people from the land
use program and an appraiser/lister. Al Robertson, a Lister from
Sheffield, who is also a forester, has been appointed as the appraiser/lister
representative to the task force. So, rather than going to VALA
for a representative for this committee they found a Lister who is also
a forester and appointed him. It will be very difficult for an
unbiased report to be submitted to the legislature given the make up
of the task force.
Mr. Robertson chairs a committee
of a forestry advocacy program in Vermont. Mark is concerned
that VALA and Listers will not be heard or fairly represented on this
particular task force. The question was raised about whether this appointment
was challenged because of conflict of interest, but it was felt that
it probably was not because the Legislature picked whom they wanted.
There was much more discussion
about the uses and abuses of the program.
Annual Meeting: Suggestions
Al Robertson-the forester/lister
who has been appointed to the Current Use Task Force
NEMRC-Ernie Saunders or Chris
Miele—progress on the purchase of Microsolve
Deb Markowitz-grievance procedure
Phil Dodd-Vt. Property Owners
Mark will make the contacts.
Pat French checked the availability
of the college for the Annual Meeting. September 14 is the
Tom Vickery, Phyllis Newton.
Mark feels it would be a good
balance for the next president to come from a small town. Although
he will not be the president, he will still be willing to meet with
There was discussion regarding
courses and what the scholarships could be used for.
A suggestion was made that
VALA needs to keep membership better informed on classes offered and
what about a VALA certification for Listers either over the computer
or home studies.
Bylaws: Peter Rimsa has
incorporated the scholarship into the bylaws. Questions and discussion
It was also suggested that
at the bottom of the application there should be a place showing signatures
either approved or disapproved.
Changes in some of the wording
John Vickery moved that under
Article 5, Section 4 should read:
Current VALA members in good
standings may apply for accessing related course financial assistance
through the attached “Scholarship Eligibility Requirements and Application
Form” to the Chair of the Education Committee. The Committee may authorize up
to $1,050.00 for Scholarships
granted each fiscal year. The maximum individual scholarship amount
will be $150.00.
shall be awarded by majority decision of at least 3 members of the Education
The Directors may alter the
“Scholarship Eligibility Requirements and Application Form as the
The motion was seconded and
The bylaw change will have
to be mailed out to the membership before the annual meeting.
A comment was made about sending
out RFPs for bids for a new CAMA system. Because of some still
unresolved issues, should we look; are there other programs that might
be better or more cost effective.
Mark will put out a draft of
the brochure to the List Serve for suggestions and/or improvements.
The meeting adjourned at 12:10