MINUTES OF VALA DIRECTORS’ MEETING
JULY 1, 2009
The meeting was called to order by Vice President Pat French at approximately 9:00 a.m. with 18 in attendance as follows:
|Todd LeBlanc||S Burlington||Chittenden|
A motion was made by Louise Ferris-Burt to accept the minutes of the May 12, 2009 meeting with the following correction. Staff reduction of state employees: There will be a 320 employee reduction state wide, with 2 jobs affected in PV&R—Felicia and Doreen. The two people in the mapping department have been transferred to Vt. Center for Geographic Information.
CORRECTION: THE TWO PEOPLE IN MAPPING PROGRAM HAVE BEEN LAID OFF, NOT TRANSFERRED TO VCGI. LOOK FOR BOTH HARRY AND DREW IN MAPPING FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
The motion was seconded and passed.
The Treasurers report was read by Louise as follows, and accepted as read on a motion by John Fike.
Balance 5/12/09 $5,442.74
Dues received $15.00
Expenses: Coffee & Supplies $ 19.50
Office Supplies 30.00
Rent (2 meetings) 65.00
Total Expenses $116.65
Ending Balance 4/30/09 $5,341.09
Education Fund $1,000.00
General Fund 4,341.09
Memberships paid to date 98
7/1/08 – 10/31/09
No report from VLCT as Steve Jeffrey was not present.
Nancy Merrill was introduced as the newest District Advisor.
As of June 30 Tom Pelham moved from his position of Tax Commissioner to the Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Administration.
The education tax rate was set on June 30, and towns should be receiving that this week.
A one time $200 thousand payment from the education fund will be available for the reappraisal of the 9 hydro facilities owned by TransCanada on the Connecticut & Deerfield Rivers.
As of September 15, the Tax Dept. will be dealing with tax adjustments of property taxes. Downloads will still be generated until December 1.
There is still no statute of limitations for failing to declare a homestead. Towns may still send out changes for homestead or non residents, but the dollar adjustments will come from the State.
PV&R is still dealing with staffing issues.
There is still concern about the real estate market. Stratton will be doing a partial reappraisal which will mainly address the drop in condominium values. Several months ago, an attorney organized condo owners to appeal their assessments—which could have been as many as 800 appeals but there were actually only 320 mostly due to lack of sales. It was decided to use errors and omissions to adjust values. Stratton was hoping to put off this partial reappraisal until they got more sales but decided they couldn’t wait.
Tom Vickery asked if the sales of the condos whose values have been adjusted will be used in the sales study. He suggested that a one year study be done even though the adjustments affected just one class of properties. He feels there needs to be a policy decision regarding the effect 2008 sales will have on future sales reports.
Sales after January 1, 2009 really started showing a weakness in the market. Sales are down, sale prices haven’t dropped a lot, but houses are on the market longer than has been the norm in the last few years. It will probably be a couple of more years of decreasing values before the market moderates.
Education costs are increasing—taxes will increase this year for nearly everyone.
There is a shift of cost burden from the general fund to the education fund. There is a 15% increase in income sensitivity payments, and as bad as it is this year, next year will be worse.
There followed discussion on reasons for reappraisal, common level of appraisal vs. level of appraisal, and other related subjects.
Value for gas plants have been lower, but are now increasing.
Mark Paulsen: The Current Use program appears to be going in two directions. The program is being expanded to include more properties, such as environmentally sensitive land but at same time there is a move to limit the cost of the program. Also, more unproductive land can be enrolled.
A Data Collection Class is scheduled for July 8-10 but there is a low enrollment thus far. If anyone knows of someone who could benefit from this class, encourage them to attend.
A new product called Earth Turbines which consists of 112’ wind turbines on which can be hung the equipment for cell phones. These are easily sited and if on land of a homeowner, they could get electricity plus rental income from the cell tower portion.
Old Business: Annual Meeting—September 25, 2009—lunch will be catered; Katie Sherman, state archivist, will be the speaker. If there are any questions or issues that could affect multiple towns, bring them to the meeting.
Question of an additional speaker was raised. Perhaps someone who could speak about digital data; electronic dissemination of information; web access to Lister records, etc. Annual meeting is a good way to let Listers know what is available. Perhaps a panel made up of representatives of towns that already have web based information who could share experiences, costs, etc.
Lister of the Year—Galen is in charge.
There will be a CAMA meeting August 26th.
Dashboard: not as much activity, mostly hits are from other New England communities.
There was a discussion on a memorandum of agreement Katie Sherman has developed for VALA to look at –Galen will meet with John Vickery to iron out details.
The next VALA meeting will be held on September 2, 2009 at the White Church in Bethel.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 12:00 p.m.
Carol Hammond, Secretary