MINUTES OF VALA DIRECTORS’ MEETING
November 5, 2008
The meeting was called to order by President Galen Mudgett with 20 present as follows:
NAME TOWN/ORGANIZATION COUNTY
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Bill Johnson PV&R
Al Jerard Brattleboro Windham
Noel Walker Fairlee Orange
Frank Partsch PV&R
Steve Jeffrey VLCT
Richard Lewis Washington
David Alexander Brookfield Orange
Mimi Burstein Bethel Windsor
Clarissa Holmes Hartford Windsor
Camilla Roberts Rockingham Windham
Tom Vickery Stowe Lamoille
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor
Todd LeBlanc So Burlington Chittenden
Ed Clodfelter Calais Washington
Galen Mudgett Sharon Windsor
Charles Mason Pawlet Rutland
Louise moved to accept the minutes of the September 3, 2008 minutes. The motion was seconded and passed.
Ed Clodfelter made a motion to accept the minutes of the September 19 Annual Meeting with corrections. These corrections will be addressed at the January meeting. The motion was seconded and passed.
The Treasurers report was read by Louise as follows, and accepted as read.
Balance 8/31/2008 $ 5,197.89
Dues Received $ 1,125.00
Paper $ 24.00
Total Expenses $1,099.80
Ending balance 10/31/2008 $ 5,249.89
Education Fund $ 1,000.00
General Fund 4,242.89
Memberships paid to date 7/1/08 – 10/31/08 84 (representing 65 towns)
Election of Officers: With all three officers willing to serve for another year, Todd made a motion to keep the same slate of officers; Vice President —Pat French; Secretary —Carol Hammond; Treasurer —Louise Ferris-Burt
The motion was seconded and passed.
Steve Jeffrey: Since the Legislature is not yet in session there is not much to report. Steve said that a bill needs to be drafted on the VLCT’s proposal to transfer the billing and collection of education taxes from the towns to the state. Hopefully it will be ready to give to the Ways and Means Committee by the time the session opens.
Steve didn’t think there would be any changes to Act 60/68. With substantially the same make up in the Senate and House, there is not much desire to tackle changes to the bills or to consider changing to an income tax to fund education.
Bill Johnson: PV&R is working on equalization studies. Bill commented on the memo that has been mailed out to all Listers regarding the valuation of owner occupied homes subject to resale restrictions. This is not a directive but is a tool to help towns in valuing these types of properties. It was also noted that these properties should not be included in the sales study.
The Tax Department is offering proposals to simplify the current system-perhaps going back to sending checks for the prebate/rebate. Another proposal would be to try to work on the cumbersome administration of the program. No one really wants to take on revamping Act 60/68. There is no money to do the research/study for fixes to the program. More changes mean more work. Every time the Legislature makes a change (s) we make it work, so then they make other changes, etc.
Tom Vickery commented that he will have to make changes to his grand list which means the state will get less money.
Tom Vickery asked Bill what the fall out would be across the state if grand lists drop due to decreasing values of properties. Ultimately, if the grand lists drop, the State will get less money from the towns and the tax rate will have to increase to compensate for loss in revenue. It was noted that the volume of sales have dropped 30% in last two years.
Camilla Roberts commented on the covenant housing situation and that more properties have exited the program than expected. The land trust has changed some of the criteria for what can or cannot be included in the program and prefer clustered housing rather than single houses in rural areas. Camilla feels that it would be more equitable to assess properties at fair market value and apply an exemption rather than dealing with restrictions, etc. Also, that the exemptions should be only on the education side, not municipal. Mr. Obuchowski would support a change in legislation-a bill needs to be drafted.
There followed discussion on various topics including how much the State contributes to the cost of reappraisals and the ongoing problems associated with the downloads of late filers, re-sending of tax bills. The CAMA/NEMRC committee hopefully can work with NEMRC to bring about possible solutions.
ANNUAL MEETING: the topic of using Net Book Value as a means of assessing utilities will be discussed at the January meeting since the motion included in the minutes did not accurately state what was discussed. There was also a discussion about subdivisions that was not included and will also be brought up at the January meeting.
Education: John Vickery, Todd LeBlanc, Louise Ferris-Burt
Possible topics for TOEC workshops-HS122 issues, downloads; assessment of luxury homes, unique and/or quasi-commercial properties such as B & Bs, Inns; continuation of new Lister training; return to the Lister Forums which featured a question & answer session; panel discussions on pertinent topics.
Exemptions: Is there a need for this committee?
Legislative: Tom Vickery, Randy Viens, Galen Mudgett, Al Jerard
Bylaws & Policy: Galen Mudgett, Peter Rimsa, Howard Burgess, Carol Hammond
CAMA/NEMRC: Pauline Moore, Frank Partsch, Noel Walker, Ed Clodfelter, Todd LeBlanc, Chris Miele,
With no other business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.
Carol Hammond, Secretary