BI-MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING MINUTES SEPTEMBER 5, 2007

MINUTES OF VALA
DIRECTORS’ MEETING

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 Lamoille

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 Bennington

Elaine Coonradt Shaftsbury Bennington

Pat French Randolph Orange

Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor

Mark Paulsen Colchester Chittenden

Daphne Gratiot Pomfret Windsor

Carol Hammond Vernon Windham

Pauline Moore Manchester Bennington

Joyce Scribner Manchester Bennington

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

Expenses

Postage:
$ 2.24

Donuts
17.00

Dues Received $ 645.00

Balance 9/4/2007 $ 4,187.47

 

VLCT-Steve Jeffrey

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.

Legislative policy

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
pay offered.

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

Committees:

Education Committee:
John Vickery-no report

Bylaws: Peter Rimsa—no
report

Exemptions: Caroline
Lockyer–no report

Legislative: Caroline Lockyer-no
report

Nominating Committee:
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
p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Hammond

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