MINUTES OF VALA
Sept 5, 2007
The meeting was called to order
by President Mark Paulsen with 26 present as follows:
Peter Rimsa Proctor Rutland
Tom Vickery Stowe/Waterbury
Janet Stowell Thetford Orange
Donna Durkee Thetford Orange
John Wetzel Fairlee Orange
Carlton Domey Cabot Washington
Doug Harvey Cabot Washington
Lyle K Morrison Grafton Windham
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Steve Jeffrey VLCT
Terry Knight PVR
Yvonne Ruda-Welch Unifund
Angie Abbatello Shaftsbury
Elaine Coonradt Shaftsbury
Pat French Randolph Orange
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor
Mark Paulsen Colchester
Daphne Gratiot Pomfret Windsor
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
Pauline Moore Manchester Benningto
Joyce Scribner Manchester
Galen Mudgett, Jr Sharon Windsor
Alexis (Bill) Parent Richmond Chittenden
Carol Wood Woodstock Windsor
Paul Wildasin Woodstock Windsor
Mimi Burstein Bethel Windsor
A motion was made by Peter
Rimsa to accept the minutes of the July 11, 2007 meeting. The
motion was seconded and passed.
The Treasurers report was read
by Louise as follows, and accepted as read.
Balance 7/10/2007 $ 3,561.71
Dues Received $ 645.00
Balance 9/4/2007 $ 4,187.47
Steve talked about the Current
Use survey sent out by Martha Sullivan. Recurring comments/suggestions
from the survey included increasing the penalty for withdrawal, assign
greater value to house site than to acreage, and concerns about eligibility
into the program.
Other areas under consideration
are more proposals on funding education, promoting the income tax to
replace the education fund, and determining if education is a local
issue or a state education system. The Ways and Means Committee
will be taking testimony on theses issues. A question was raised
as to whether any thought had been given to base per pupil spending
on school size. Small schools have higher per student cost because
of the overhead being spread over a smaller school population.
Consolidation is not always a practical solution given the physical
makeup of the Vermont countryside. Also, if it is possible to
make small schools more affordable, then the pressure is taken off of
controlling and/or reducing spending. A bill introduced by former
Rep. Rusten,[H587] if passed would eliminate Act 60, 68, etc. and localize
education. A simpler formula would be enacted and made to pass
muster of the Brigham decision. Steve closed by saying that there
many ways to meet Brigham, Act 60, 68 etc. was only one of them.
The need to develop a Legislative
Policy was discussed. There is concern that when decisions need
to be made quickly, they are often made by a small group or sometimes
only one or two people from VALA. There needs to be something
in place that will allow for flexibility as well as being able to represent
the views of the VALA membership. It was decided that this issue
should be presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting, to see
if it is something the membership would like the Directors to pursue.
It would be very important to have a policy in place if the fate of
Act 60, 68 were to be debated in the Legislature. There
was further discussion as to having a special meeting to amend the VALA
Constitution to set up a structure or framework for a legislative policy,
or work on a draft at a special meeting and get everything in place
to be presented at the next annual meeting in 2008.
When asked, Steve said he would
have no problem representing VALA’s position on issues provided it
did not conflict with positions taken by VLCT.
PV&R–Terry Knight reported
that she will be retiring as of Sept. 28, 2007 and was hoping someone
from the VALA organization would apply for her job. Sandra
Brodeur will be returning to work on a survey, and Charlene will be
teaching APEX classes.
Education payments will be
mailed out Sept. 10. A one day Marshall & Swift seminar will
be held in October or November, 2007 in the Rutland area.
There will be no MOMs meetings
this fall due to increased costs. There is a possibility of internet
sessions on subjects of interest and training for Listers.
Ernie Saunders of NEMRC is
organizing an advisory committee to suggest and implement improvements
to the program.
With Terry’s resignation,
there are four empty positions which have been advertised in IAAO as
well as other places. The jobs are hard to fill because of the
Privacy issue: Act 185
and “net tax billing.” Mark has been asked to testify before
the Ways & Means Committee about VALA’s viewpoint on this issue.
After much lively discussion, it was decided that since this is has
nothing to do with assessment of property, VALA does not have a stand
on it. It was moved by Louise Ferris-Burt that VALA does not take
a position on the public disclosure of information. The motion
was seconded and passed.
Annual Meeting: Morning
Session: Ernie Saunders of NEMRC will be speaking on the merger
of NEMRC and CAMA. Afternoon session: Roundtable discussion
of Current Use with Alan Robertson, Deb Brighton, and Martha Sullivan.
Since the general feeling in Montpelier is to make few if any changes
to Current Use, it is especially important for Listers to express their
concerns on the uses and abuses of this program.
Town Fair: nothing of
interest for Listers
John Vickery-no report
Bylaws: Peter Rimsa—no
Legislative: Caroline Lockyer-no
Tom Vickery, Phyllis Newton.
Galen Mudgett, Jr. has agreed
to become the next president of VALA
Tom Vickery talked briefly
on Current Use– that it has gotten away from its original purpose and
has become a means of “tax avoidance.” He suggested several
changes to the program, such as higher penalties for withdrawal, incentives
for exemptions, different categories of exemptions for residents, non
residents and generational owners, and exempting on school side only.
While most Listers favor the concept of Current Use, whose initial intent
was to retard development not stop it, VALA needs to take a stand on
correcting the uses and abuses of the program.
The meeting adjourned at 12:10