MAY 4, 2011

The meeting was called to order by President John Fike at approximately 9:00 a.m.

A list of attendees follows the minutes.

Charles Mason made a motion to approve the Secretary’s report. The motion was seconded and passed.

The Treasurer’s report was approved on a motion by Bruce Shields. The motion was seconded and passed as follows:

Balance 2/28/2011 $5,161.68
Dues Received 90.00*
Copies J Fike & TOECs 94.40
Refreshments 18.48 Total Expenses $ 112.98 Balance 4/30/2011 General Fund 4,131.80 Balance 10/31/2010 Education Fund 1,000.00 Balance in checking 4/30/2011 $5,138.80 YTD Memberships received 130 plus 4 for next 4 years prepaid

President’s Comments:

Lister of the Year—need input from Listers/Assessors for recommendations for the 2011 award. It was suggested that the requests be sent via the List Serve and Muninet.

Annual Meeting—Pat French said the meeting would be held at the Red School House as it was last year, but a back up location would be the Old Gym. The date for the annual meeting will be Friday, September 23, 2011.

Speakers will be from Terra Map/Avitar-tax mapping, and Real Data Services—on line sales data.

Between May and July, the nominating committee will need to have recommendations for President for 2011-2012.

VLCT: Steve Jeffrey—not present—in Montpelier—closing legislative session

PVR: Our sympathy to Bill Johnson whose Mom passed away.

Legislative Committee: Tom Vickery—Ways and Means Committee voted to accept the Coalition’s changes to the Current Use program which was mainly to go to a tiered approach for penalties for early withdrawal from the program. Land withdrawn from 0 to 12 years would be assessed a 10% penalty, 13-20 years a 5% penalty and over 20 years a 3% penalty and would be assessed at Fair Market Value. These figures were under discussion with possible changes being land withdrawn 13-20 years would be assessed an 8% penalty and over 20 years a 5% penalty. The Land Trust supports a larger penalty while land owners want a smaller penalty.

VALA is being asked to weigh in on this issue and the question was raised as to whether we should. Tom and/or Randy will probably appear before the Senate Finance committee on this bill. Everyone seems to agree on the 10% penalty—it is the other percentages that are in question.

Louise made a motion that VALA support the 3 tiered approach starting with the 10% penalty for withdrawal of land from 0 to 12 years, and that the value of the withdrawn land be based on Fair Market Value. The motion was seconded and passed.

H.67—appraisal of land with recreation trails—still in committee-nothing this year.

H.73—establishing a government transparency office to enforce public records act—will pass and will affect all municipal officers.

H.110—payment of the state-wide education property tax—in committee, nothing this year

(PVR has a study committee with results by June)

H.136—exempting trailers in storage from the property tax—in committee, nothing this year

H.175—property tax certification of public, pious, or charitable use—in committee, nothing this year

PVR—Michelle Wilson handed out a booklet of classes offered both by PVR and IAAO for the upcoming year.

The Electronic Property Transfer Tax Return (EPTTR) is still being “tweaked”; it continues to be a work in progress

Lister Certification—hopefully will have progress report by September.

Nancy Merrill has resigned as District Advisor.

Education—Todd LeBlanc—the new format was well received at the TOEC’s and numbers were up. The original plan was to repeat the morning workshops during the evening session but there weren’t enough presenters. One of the goals of using this format was to attract more than just Listers to the conference.

There was discussion on stipends for presenters since they do not get paid. Many small towns do not pay their Listers to attend VALA meetings or the TOEC’s, etc. and it can create a hardship for those who have to take time off from their regular jobs.

Some suggestions for topics included Lister Time Line, valuation of B&B’s, inns, and hotels, reading deeds, trusts and trustees of trusts. It was noted that the New Lister Class has been changed to just Lister Class and is appropriate for new Listers as well as those who have been Listers for years.

Scholarships— A new form (Word Doc) has been developed and the group was encouraged to read and send suggestions to either Todd LeBlanc or Louise Ferris Burt.

Website/Newsletter—Penny Allyn–there has been some delay in getting the website up and running because the designer/programmer is doing it on his own time. Penny is still looking for pictures from other towns for the Newsletter. Penny said it takes her about 8 hours to put together a newsletter.

Finance Committee—Richard Lancaster—the committee has researched 5 other organizations similar to VALA with the following results: all have annual membership fees from $20 to $175, 3 did credentialing, and 2 offered membership scholarships.

After much discussion, it was decided that VALA needs a membership sub-committee and that dues need to be raised. With the present annual rate of $15.00, enough revenue cannot be raised to sustain what VALA would like to accomplish.

At present there are only 64 out of 251 towns represented in VALA. Some type of marketing of the organization should be done to show who we are and what we do. The legislative participation should be touted as this is a very important part of providing our legislators with input regarding the bills that they consider and/or pass.

Equalization Study—Tom Vickery—Because of the low number of valid sales throughout the state, the equalization study is becoming almost invalid. The study is geared toward an increased grand list, but does not consider a decreasing grand list. Tom would like to conduct a seminar sometime in June based on his findings in the equalization process and see where it is going and what recommendations VALA could make to improve it. The seminar would accomplish two things, the proceeds of the attendance fee would go to VALA, and a good presentation could be made to the legislature in January, 2012.

Tom reminded everyone that the equalization study is a measure of inflation. Now that we are in a flat or declining real estate market, valid sales are now lower than assessed values. Nothing was built into

Act 60 or 68, etc. to consider a declining market. Another issue is the Coefficient of Dispersion (COD) which is spreading even though the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) remains okay. Land schedules may have to be addressed.

NEMRC—Chris Miele—the punch list is wrapped up and the new commercial cost sheet and data card has been released.

A motion was made by Terry Thayne for Tom Vickery to hold a seminar on the Equalization Study and its impact on towns. The motion was seconded and passed. Chris Miele suggested that Tom keep track of the time it takes to put together the seminar.

The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Hammond, Secretary


Last Name First Name Town County
LeBlanc Todd S Burlington Chittenden
Potter Spencer VMA
Duquette, Sr Ray Pawlet Rutland
Mason Charles Pawlet Rutland
Allyn Penny Reading Windsor
Thayne Terry Ludlow Windsor
Domey Carlton Cabot Washington
Roberts Camilla Rockingham Windham
Wilson Michelle PVR
Lancaster Richard Barnard Windsor
McNall Patricia Fairfax Franklin
Chapman Robin Fairfax Franklin
Shields Bruce Eden Lamoille
Beal Paula Bethel Windsor
Burstein Mimi Bethel Windsor
Alexander David Brookfield Orange
Hammond Bill Vernon Windham
Sweetser Don Randolph Orange
Morrissey Tim Stowe Lamoille
Paulsen Mark Chittenden
Viens Randy Essex Chittenden
Walker Noel Fairlee Orange
Miele Chris NEMRC
Vickery Tom Stowe Lamoille
Ferris-Burt Louise Bethel Windsor
French Pat Randolph Orange
Fike John Reading Windsor
Clark Sandra S Londonderry Windham
Hammond Carol Vernon Windham
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