JULY 7, 2010

President John Fike called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. A listing of attendees follows the minutes.

A motion was made by Ed Clodfelter to accept the minutes of the May 5th meeting. The motion was seconded and passed.

The Treasurer’s report was read and accepted with corrections on a motion by Randy Viens as follows:

Balance 4/30/2010 $4,959.72
Dues Received $90.00
Donuts & Juice 24.75
Speaker Lunch 23.12
Speaker Reimb. 135.00
Coffee Pot Rental 10.00
Total Expenses $192.87
Balance 06/30/2010 General Fund 3,856.85
Balance 06/30/2010 Education Fund 1,000.00
Balance 06/30/2010 Checking Acct $4,856.85
118 Memberships have been paid currently

President John Fike noted that the CAMA Committee and the Lister of the Year Committee will meet immediately after the regular VALA Directors’meeting.

He also commented that there had been good response to the request for nominations for Lister of the Year—there were nine nominations, but since 3 provided no backup and a 4th decided to wait until next year to submit their nomination, the committee will actually have 5 from which to make their decision.

John summarized his remarks in the President’s letter which was included with the agenda. In particular he commented on the Forestry Round Table Meeting that he and Randy attended on June 24th. He also encouraged the theme “Bring a Lister to Lunch” to promote a record attendance at the Annual Meeting.

The second VALA Newsletter was sent out and many positive comments have been received. Penny will be looking for reports for the next edition.

Retention of records—a committee is needed to work with Katie Sherman.

Bill Johnson: The new PTTR system is in place to go “live” in January, 2011. Lawyers, who typically were against changing the PTTR have been shown that the new form is an improvement over the old and many are now convinced that the changes are good.

A total of about $24,000 was needed to support the NEMRC punch list—this amount has been made available from different sources including a one time withdrawal from the Current Use fund made possible by the increase in fees. Now that the funds are available, NEMRC can proceed with the necessary changes.

George Sansoucy has completed the TransCanada valuation for the State. In some towns there is still some work to be done on land values. The process went well and values are higher than what most towns had set.

VAST trails: Issue of over assessing property with VAST trails in one Vermont town. The bill—H357, was passed in the House and killed in the Senate. [Bill Johnson, along with representatives from VALA, VLCT, VAST, the town of Canaan and other interested parties will review the bill and report back to Ways and Means and Senate Finance no later than January, 2011.]

Current Use: H-485 was passed in both House and Senate but vetoed by Governor Douglas. There is no unanimity among the groups that weigh in on this program. There are some that feel that changes have to be made to ensure the viability of the program while others not only don’t want it touched but want to expand it. Because of the view by some that conservation easements reduce value, Bill would like to see a study done by town Listers of sales of land with conservation easements in the last 10 years to determine conclusively what effect these easements have on sales/values. It is believed by some that there is a tendency to over value easements. We need more concrete data to offer to the Forest and Agriculture Committees to better present our concerns—sale of properties with easements, how many properties have sold and include both listed and sale values. Much of the information passed on to the Legislature is what these Departments want them to hear making it is very necessary for VALA to give a balanced presentation of the long term effects of not making changes to the program.

Restricted Housing: Some housing trusts are encouraging property owners to appeal their assessments based on Title 32, Section 3481—taking into consideration the effects of covenants on property values.

Tax Exemptions: There were a number of comments about different groups/special interests, etc that are looking for tax exemptions. VALA needs to study the issues as they surface and build a quality data base to present to the Legislature. As times get harder and money gets scarcer, more and more people, organizations, etc will be looking for tax relief.

NEMRC: Chris Miele reports that more towns have indicated the possibility of returning to the state supported CAMA program now that problems are being addressed and fixed.

August Newsletter: Penny will be on vacation the last week of July and first week of August, so she would like articles, reports, photos, ASAP.

Louise reported that there continues to be a number of “hits” on the VALA website, including one from Alaska. Again, we want to thank Chuck for his good work in maintaining our website.

Education—Todd LeBlanc and John Vickery: looking for suggestions for workshops for the TOEC’s. There are two new directors at UVM with different ideas for the time of year, formats, locations, etc. The Lister Forums went well, but with five locations, more presenters are needed. It was also noted, that Listers make up the largest amount of attendees at the TOEC’s.

There was much discussion regarding education for new Listers. They are a hard group to reach. Many towns do not allow funding for Lister education which would include New Lister Classes, attendance at the TOEC’s, and other educational opportunities. Workshops at the TOEC’s can be a bit daunting to a new Lister if they have not been able to attend basic New Lister Classes.

Dave Tanner of PV&R suggested that a packet of information be assembled for new Listers as well as articles in the VALA Newsletter.

It was also suggested that the VALA Director of each county contact new Listers in their county and encourage them to get training, attend the TOEC’s, VALA, etc. We definitely need to be more proactive and a list of VALA members would be helpful for contact. Louise said it is hard to provide an up to date list of VALA members because she gets new and renewed memberships all year long.

Dave also said that attendance at classes has been low—some classes have had to be combined since there were not enough enrolled at the different locations.

IAAO classes are well attended, but they also draw from other states besides Vermont.

There was some discussion on Webinars vs. actual classes.

Mark Paulsen: There are three IAAO classes being offered—Depreciation Analysis, Residential Modeling Concepts, and Income Approach.

Equalization Study—preliminary sales report is now computerized. Chris from NEMRC has built a sales module and will be available as a download much like the Current Use program. It will look the same as the paper version and Listers will be able to make corrections, etc., have it reviewed by the District Advisors , and then send it electronically back to the State. It can also be printed out if desired. Unlike the Current Use electronic reporting, which can be sent back and forth with revisions or changes, the equalization study will be sent to the Listers once and the Listers will only be able to send their response back to the state once.

The results of the sales study sent in December will still be a paper copy.

There was a lengthy discussion on how this will work, and Mark said that once the study has been sent to the towns, he is sure that any glitch/problem that may appear can be worked out. Instructions will be mailed two days before the module is downloaded.

It was suggested that Chris Miele do a Webinar on this.

There have been several people interviewed for the position of Director of Current Use with some optimism.

Bylaws: no report

Legislative: Tom Vickery reports there will be a meeting on August 2nd on the Current Use issue. Forestry is trying to establish a new coalition. The Farm Bureau, Land Trust and others want to continue the Current Use program but realize that changes are needed.

Forestry wants no changes unless it is to expand the program, while Agriculture wants changes—they just don’t know what—and they want VALA at the table. They appreciate our input and all the time and energy spent in attending hearings, research done, etc. It is possible there may be two coalitions.

VAST: this issue was assigned to a committee. Neither VAST nor affected property owners approached the Canaan Listers to explain their assessments, but were willing to have public law made without any facts for backup. The Listers said they had sales to prove the increase in value of the land, but VAST said that the increase in values were applied inconsistently across parcels. There were many suggestions as to how this should have been handled. One concern expressed by VAST was that if land values increased, property owners would not want the trails on their land.

H-776 An act relating to rental housing. Dead this year, but it probably will resurface.

Annual Meeting: We have one speaker and are looking for suggestions for the other session—perhaps a forum or a panel discussion on some item of interest; perhaps someone from the Legislature. Please email John with suggestions.

New Tax Commissioner—since the person for this position is appointed by the governor, one will probably not be appointed until a new governor is elected.

Mark Paulsen will take care of getting the Lister of the Year plaque ordered.

A Records Retention Committee is needed to work with Katie Sherman. The committee will be John Vickery, Lisa Truchon, and Robert Vickery.

Ed Clodfelter stated that 2006 sales are about the same as now and that 2007-2008 sales are 5-10% higher than current. He also said that recent fee appraisals that he has seen have been awful—poor comparables used, etc. Several others in the group concurred.

There was a brief discussion on basement living areas in condominiums with no egress. Fire marshals could close a building in this circumstance.

With no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Hammond


John Fike Reading Windsor
Todd LeBlanc S Burlington Chittenden
John Vickery Burlington Chittenden
Penny Allyn Reading Windsor
Carlton E Domey Cabot Washington
Lisa Truchon Lincoln Addison
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Mark Paulsen PV&R
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Galen Mudgett, Jr. Sharon Windsor
Howard Burgess Rutland Rutland
Robert Vickery Colchester Chittenden
Carol Ackley Plymouth Windsor
Bill Johnson PV&R
Cheryl Tudhope Orwell Addison
Tom Vickery Stowe Lamoille
Tim Morrisey Stowe Lamoille
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
Pat French Randolph Orange
Ed Clodfelter Calais Washington
Pauline Moore Manchester Bennington
Joyce Scribner Manchester Bennington
Noel Walker Fairlee Orange
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