November 3, 2010

The meeting was called to order at approximately 9:00 a.m. by President John Fike. A list of attendees follows the minutes.

John said that one goal we will be working toward this year is a better list of Listers and email addresses to ensure that everyone gets all the information that is sent out. Another goal for this next year is for two lists, one for VALA members to keep them up-to-date on whatever is going on and one for non-members—to encourage them to become members.

The Treasurer’s report was accepted on a motion by Pauline Moore. The motion was seconded and passed and reads as follows:

Balance 8/31/2010 $4,927.85
Dues Received $1,740.00
Annual Mtg VTC 970.00
Copies 306.29
Donations 50.00
Plaque 81.10 Total Expenses $1,407.39 Balance 10/31/2010 General Fund 4,260.46 Balance 10/31/2010 Education Fund 1,000.00 Balance 10/31/2010 Checking Acct $5,260.46 118 Memberships have been paid currently plus 4 for next 4 years prepaid

Election of Officers:

President: John Fike was elected as President at the Annual Meeting.

Vice President—Louise made a motion to elect Pat French. The motion was seconded and passed.

Secretary—Louise made a motion to elect Carol Hammond. The motion was seconded and passed.

Treasurer—Ed Clodfelter made a motion to elect Louise Ferris-Burt. The motion was seconded and passed.

Steve Jeffrey: Nothing new to report at this time. He will be attending a meeting of the Current Use Coalition.

Tom Vickery: At the Annual Meeting, VALA voted to support the following language to be added to Title 32, Section 4461 as subsection ©. The purpose of this subsection is to clarify the cost of appeals beyond the Board of Civil Authority recognizing that both the State and the Town or City have a shared stake in the outcome of the appeal. It puts the State in the position to help the Town or City and brings them and the State together. The Town or City would interface with PV&R regarding an appeal. This could be a deterrent to an appellant if they knew that State resources were available to defend value. If an appeal were lost by the Town or City, they would not have to reimburse the Education Fund—the State would make up the difference.

Tom made a motion that any costs or property tax liability incurred in the defense of an appeal taken beyond the Board of Civil Authority shall be prorated between the State Education Fund and the Town or City according to the percentage of tax rate between the education tax rate and the municipal tax rate to the total tax rate for the tax year or years in which the appeal applies. (We would defer to VLCT for any necessary changes in wording.)

Much discussion followed and it was stated that if nothing more, it would raise awareness to the problem of the cost of these appeals. The motion was seconded and passed.

Randy Viens: The coalition formed to further study Current Use. Randy doesn’t feel VALA should be a member of the coalition but perhaps should attend the meetings to know what direction the group is taking.

The coalition still feels that towns are inflating the value of non-enrolled land. Other things under consideration are the tiering of benefits (based on use—private vs. public use), the Land Use Change Tax—possible increase.

The Current Use program is deeply imbedded—many of our legislators have enrolled land.

Recreation Trails—VAST: Randy spoke with a Canaan Lister who said that they had sales that proved there was increased value because VAST trails provided egress to land which had no road frontage. Recreational organizations are looking to the legislature to prevent Listers from doing their jobs—Listers appraising property at fair market value. Care needs to be taken not to destroy equity. Discussion included Canaan’s methodology, perhaps should have used a grading factor rather than a $10,000 across the board increase.

Rental Housing Bill—will come up again. If passed it would require Listers to identify rental units. Health officers would become compliance officers. There would supposedly be no penalties, but a statement was made by an attorney that approximately $2 million could be made in fines in the first year.

PV&R Michelle Wilson: Equalization Study went well the first year; it has been refined and will be even better next year. The EPTTR (electronic property transfer tax return) is being rolled out and will be going live on January 1st. There has been a lot of education for Town Clerks and Attorneys throughout the state, and a lot of in house testing. A lot of automation is taking place, new software which will interface with the new PTTR web portal to collect the data of the ‘electronic’PTTR. It will streamline the process of collecting and recording the property transfer tax as well as other taxes. The State tried to make the forms “smart” and anticipate as many needs as possible, but it is still a work in progress and further tweaks will probably be done.

The Town Clerk will receive the EPTTR and deed and a copy of the transfer. No money will be received—that will go directly to the state. The Listers will not have access until a latter phase is implemented. As for now, there is a summary report the clerks can print or send to the Listers.

Michelle also talked about course offerings and there was discussion on what PVR sponsors and what classes are eligible for state funding. There is a limited amount of money available and the IAAO classes are expensive. Steve Jeffrey commented that a few years ago there was an appropriation from the education fund for use for Lister education. But this is limited as it would be dangerous to expand the use of the fund. There had already been those who tried to use the fund for reasons other than its intended purpose.

One time Homestead Declaration: As of April 1, taxpayers won’t have to file the HS 122. The State will use the one filed in 2010. When asked if the taxpayers will receive adequate notification, Michelle said that materials have been prepared and will be disseminated to the public.

Lister Certification: majority of the work has been done and the rest should be completed in 2011.

Dave Tanner: the 2008 cost tables are available for download. These reflect the decreasing cost of construction and the increase in the cost of accessories [i.e. bathroom fixtures]

John Vickery—Education: It is felt that changes should be made to the scholarship program since only one scholarship has been requested and granted. Perhaps the rules should be loosened up. The committee will meet and report back at the January meeting.

TOECs: There have been thoughts regarding changing the format of the meetings. Also, more workshops, longer days, more flexibility to accommodate work schedules with the same sessions offered in the morning and evening so that a town officer could attend morning and afternoon classes or afternoon and evening. [See proposed TOEC layout at end of minutes]

John and Todd are still looking for volunteers to be presenters or assistants in teaching the classes.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to deed reading, excel spreadsheets, reports-both CAMA and NEMRC and advanced CAMA class.

Record Retention: John has met with Katie Sherman, we need to categorize what I do and list the appropriate forms for each category. After this information is collected, then a rough draft will be done in committee. We need to determine what is in a typical I’ office—electronic as well as paper records, backups, and decide how long to keep certain records as well as practicality—space issues, etc.

NEMRC: Chris Miele reported on the “Punch List” and also on the following:

Reappraisal towns will no longer need 2 grand list entities

Programming ability to identify inactive parcels in CAMA

Getting pictures to show on additional sections

Finding ranges of properties

Most items on the Punch List have been addressed but will need to be tested before releasing to towns.

Chris stressed the importance of keeping the NEMRC and CAMA programs current—doing live updates.

He will be doing Webinars on reconciling grand lists and rollovers

Follow up on CoreLogic Co., an escrow company has requested copies of working grand lists from NEMRC, but NEMRC would not give them out without express permission from the I. There were concerns expressed that the working grand list might not be subject to the open information law. Once it has been lodged, then it is public.

There still needs to be clean up done on commercial property cards——Chris said it is on the top of the list

Ed will be releasing the condo program—a nice piece of work.

Budget and Finance: John Fike……….changes to the website. We have a very basic site—but to be really effective it needs to be interactive—one we can control. John recommends that we upgrade and Penny would serve as the co-coordinator until someone else is trained to take over.

Pauline Moore moved to authorize up to $1500.00 to upgrade the website and for Penny to be the co-coordinator.

After discussion, the motion was seconded and passed.

Chuck Burt will work with Penny to work with companies to build the website—user friendly, etc and we will also need to register a website name. We need to come up with a RFP and put it out to bid.

Budget: John has talked to Louise about getting the budget info on excel spreadsheet and put it out on the website.

Dues—Have been looking at the amount of dues, how we collect them, etc. There is a cash flow of approximately $1800 per year, which basically takes care of the costs associated with the annual meeting. As VALA gains more visibility as an organization, there will be a need for more participation on the state level, and it would be good to offer at least a stipend to those who are actively involved in attending hearings etc in Montpelier. We should be looking at a budget of $4,000 to $5,000 per year. How do we accomplish that?

Would like to get together a finance committee to discuss and report back to the members. We need to expand our membership because of the 118 that paid dues, that does not represent 110 towns.

Looking for volunteers for the Finance Committee:

Louise Ferris-Burt, Pat French, Terry, Dick Lancaster, Penny Allyn, Chris Miele. They will have a report ready for the May VALA meeting.

Annual Meeting: a suggestion was made that at the annual meeting it would be good to state who we are as an organization, our goals and purposes for the benefit of new I or those who have served but may not attend the regular meetings but only come to the annual meeting. This might encourage them to attend the regular meetings and to become members.

Pat is looking for feedback on the facility itself—parking, identification of facilities, use of elevator, etc.

Todd asked that if PVR provides education, why couldn’t VALA come up with criteria for certification, get the mandated education and then provide certification. Michelle said she said it could be done, but statutes would have to be changed….she hopes to have some information by March.

Lisa commented that the State, by statute, must have a certification program—so then if VALA comes up with its own, there would be two certification programs. Consideration would also have to be given to I who have had years and years of experience—perhaps a “grandfather” clause. There are many things to be taken into consideration and much more discussion followed.

Before adjourning, Ed Clodfelter added a tribute to Shaftsbury Lister, Angie Abbatello who passed away on October 23rd. Angie was 80 years young and had been a Lister for 17 years, making her the longest serving Lister in that town. She enjoyed her job and made sure that every property owner was treated fairly and properly. She was an amazing lady and I know that Chris Miele, Ed and I and others who knew her well, will miss her greatly. I would like to think that I will have that much energy and passion at her age.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Hammond,

VALA Secretary


John Vickery Burlington Chittenden
Tom Vickery Stowe Lamoille
Penny Allyn Reading Windsor
Joyce Scribner Manchester Bennington
Pauline Moore Manchester Bennington
Richard Lancaster Barnard Windsor
Michelle Wilson PVR
Lisa Truchon Lincoln Addison
Don Sweetser Randolph Orange
Carlton Domey Cabot Washington
Michelle Pingree Plymouth Windsor
Pat Rea Brookfield Orange
Steve Jeffrey VLCT
David Tanner PVR
Clarissa Holmes Hartford Windsor
Terry Thayne Ludlow Windsor
Mimi Burstein Bethel Windsor
Noёl Walker Fairlee Orange
Phyllis Newton Vernon Windham
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Chris Miele NEMRC
Todd LeBlanc S. Burlington Chittenden
Ed Clodfelter Calais Washington
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor
Pat French Randolph Orange
John Fike Reading Windsor
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham


The TOEC planners call it “THE PERFECT DAY” and this is the proposed layout.

9 to 10 check-in time Food/Registration/exhibitors/newcomer event

New Officers Breakfast hosted by secretary of state and/or maybe a difference official for each location.

10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Session I (4-5 offerings for each session; repeat sessions as appropriate; focused topics for specific audiences will be offered, but not ‘tracks’ as we have had in the past)

11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Exhibits (11:15-11:45 exclusive for exhibits) and lunch

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Session II

2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Session III

3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Session IV

4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. Exhibits /dinner/newcomer event

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Session V

7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Session VI

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