MINUTES OF VALA
Nov 7, 2007
The meeting was called to order
by President Galen Mudgett with 39 present as follows:
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel
Todd LeBlanc So. Burlington Chittenden
Pat French Randolph Orange
Doug Harvey Cabot Washington
Carlton Domey Cabot Washington
Ed Clodfelter Calais
Pauline Moore Manchester
Joyce Scribner Manchester
Bill Tobin PVR
Charles Mason Pawlett Rutland
Howard Burgess Rutland Rutland
Chris Miele NEMRC
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Robert L Sanborn Chelsea Orange
Amanda Beaulieu Newbury Orange
Heidi Johnson Barnard Windsor
Alexis “Bill” Parent Richmond Chittende
Judie Lewis Tunbridge Orange
Paul Wildair Woodstock
Lisa Truchon Lincoln Addison
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
John Wetzel Fairlee Orange
Carolyn Kinney Poultney Rutland
Ted Donlon Greensboro
Valdine Hall Greensboro Orleans
Cheryl Tudhope Orwell Addison
Angie Abbatello Shaftsbury
Elaine Coonradt Shaftsbury
John Trombley Topsham Orange
Pat Plaisted Topsham Orange
Camilla Roberts Rockingham
Al Jerard Brattleboro
Lois Sippel Athens Windham
Lois P Trenn Benson Rutland
Tom Vickery Stowe Lamoille
John Vickery Burlington
Galen Mudgett, Jr Sharon Windsor
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
A motion was made by Pauline
to accept the minutes of both the September 5th regular meeting
and the September 14th, 2007 Annual Meeting. The motion
was seconded and passed.
The Treasurer’s report was
presented as follows and accepted.
Balance 9/4/2007 $ 4,187.47
Received $ 1,080.00
Donuts, Coffee, & OJ $
Plaque – Lister of Year
Plaque Logo Plate
VTC – Annual Mtg. Exp. 1,030.50
Ending Balance 10/31/2007 $
Total memberships paid to date
for 2007-2008 118
Attendance at the Annual Meeting
was between 85-90 with 78 signed in for lunch.
Tom Vickery spoke on Current
Use. Originally, Tom was going to represent VALA’s viewpoint
on Current Use issues, abuses, etc. at the Current Use Task Force
hearing which would follow the VALA meeting. He was contacted
by Rep. Clarkson that they didn’t want to hear Tom’s presentation
because that was not the direction that the Task Force wanted to go.
The Task Force was formed to counter a move in the Legislature to curtail
some exemptions because of the probability of having to raise taxes.
Some members of the Legislature feel that the money given out in programs
such as Current Use is creating a tax rate increase. The Task
Force is made up of 15 members, over half of which are foresters—which
includes the Lister on the committee. The goal is to increase
the amount of land enrolled in the program—land which was previously
ineligible, but there will also be more regulations. The Department
of Forests and Parks are the primary motivators for management plans
and the focus will be on habitat vs. timber with an emphasis on protecting
areas for rare, threatened or endangered species and management of invasive
plants. Allowance would be made for protection of historic sites
on enrolled land. Open land would have to be brush hogged.
The direction this Task Force
is taking is not what was expected. Tom wanted to show abuses
in the program—people, including developers, pay thousands of dollars
per acre, then enroll the land into Current Use and only pay taxes on
a value of approximately $146 per acre. A comprehensive study
was done with recommendations of who would be eligible to enroll, benefits,
and penalties for withdrawal. The study would show that it would
not hurt the farmers, or the timber parcels and would curtail the amount
of benefits of R2 and V2 properties buyers would receive. But
the Task Force didn’t want to hear any of that information because
they had a motive and an agenda they wanted passed, and anything Tom
had to say would not have any effect and would only confuse them.
Rep. Clarkson said that she
and the other speakers at the VALA Annual Meeting were very disappointed
that Listers did not attend and testify at the public hearings and let
their views be heard.
After further discussion, the
consensus was to form a committee within VALA to show the alternatives
to what is being railroaded through by the Legislature. Valuable
information could be given to the public—identifying what the abuses
and what is really happening in this program.
Tom said the main topic at
the Nov. 7th meeting is dealing with penalties.
Galen reported on the Current
Use hearing he attended in White River Jct. He also commented
on the make up of the Task Force being over half foresters. There
was agreement that there was no oversight on agricultural land enrolled
in the program and changes need to be made. At present, PVR has
three people who administrate the program which consists of approximately
3000 parcels. Galen said that concern was expressed about the
penalties for withdrawing from the program being too low. He also
said that land that is purchased at higher than fair market value and
enrolled into Current Use should not be included in the State sales
study as it would affect the CLA. Current Use is driving up the
land prices in Vermont because of the ability of developers to buy land,
enroll into the program and pay a small percentage of property taxes
until such time as they choose to develop it.
Tom brought up the Ways and
Means Committee’s idea of replacing the property tax for education
with an income tax for residents. There were many concerns expressed,
i.e. —if income decreases so does the revenue, the State will still
need a certain amount of money to fund education, so either the income
tax rate will increase or they will have to draw from some other revenue
After more discussion, a motion
was made and seconded to form a committee with Tom Vickery as chairman
to keep abreast of Current Use issues. The motion passed.
Volunteers to serve on the committee are Louise Ferris-Burt, Pauline
Moore, Amanda Beaulieu, Camilla Roberts, Paul Wildair, and Valdine Hall.
(If I have left anyone out, please let me know.)
The committee will report to the membership at the January, 2008 meeting.
PVR—Bill Johnson was
not present but Bill Tobin from PVR introduced himself as a new member
of that department. He has been a contractor for 17 years, a fee
appraiser for 6 years; helped finish the reappraisal in Corinth, then
moved on to PVR as a District Advisor (formerly Glenda Nye’s district).
He gave a brief overview of what is happening. Doug Lay is temporarily
filling Dave Bolton’s position while still remaining as District Advisor.
Bill Hayden is filling in the position formerly held by Terry Knight.
Randy suggested that VLCT be
contacted to see what their view is on the Current Use issue.
Town Fair: Not many Listers
present—there was nothing offered for Listers except for a session
on GIS tax mapping. It was expressed by a Lister who sat
in on the workshop that not enough time was spent to adequately cover
Election of Officers:
Vice President: Pat French
Secretary: Carol Hammond
Treasurer: Louise Ferris-Burt
It was moved that the secretary
cast one ballot for each of the above persons for the respective offices.
The motion was seconded and passed.
Education: John Vickery,
Louise Ferris-Burt, Lisa Truchon, Todd LeBlanc, Janet Stowell
Mark Paulsen, Randy Viens, Galen Mudgett, Caroline Lockyer
Over-sight: Randy Viens, Tom Vickery, Ed Clodfelter
By-Laws: Pauline Moore
Moore, Todd LeBlanc, John Fike, Ed Clodfelter, Noel Walker,
Ferris-Burt, Chris Miele
Lister of the Year: Mark
Paulsen, Galen Mudgett, Terry Knight
There will be a 2 day Marshall
& Swift workshop
The Income Approach to Value
IAAO course will be offered the last week of January, 2008 in Waterbury.
There is opportunity for 30-70 students—20 students at $450.00 each
are needed to hold the class and break even on the cost.
There was discussion on advertising
the class to meet the quota; taking money from VALA treasury for scholarships;
raising VALA fees.
With fewer available avenues
of training, VALA becomes more important as an educational source.
Tom Vickery moved that the
Education Committee be authorized to go forward with planning of Income
Course. The motion was seconded and passed.
The sale of Microsolve to NEMRC
has been completed; Jan Schreiber, Melanie, a programmer
of Microsolve, Scott from NEMRC and Chris have met with PVR to discuss
issues that need to be addressed. The survey that had been sent
out by PVR was only answered by 60 towns. This was mainly to find
out what version of CAMA each town was using. NEMRC can automate
so they can know who has what version. Live updates can be developed.
The question was asked as to
whether the State would mandate the use of Microsolve, and the answer
There was discussion on the
survey that Bill Johnson had sent out to a few towns. If the state
were to mandate rolling reappraisals, would that negate the need for
the annual sales studies, and take care of the CLA problem?
PVR would need to increase
staff to be able to monitor reappraisals. Perhaps a separate group
should monitor since the State will be losing 400 employees over a period
of time through attrition and will not be replaced.
Please note–The next
regular meeting will be held at the Randolph Town Office on January
9, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.
With no other business to conduct,
the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
Carol Hammond, Secretary