BI-MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING MINUTES SEPTEMBER 14, 2011

MINUTES OF THE VALA DIRECTORS MEETING
SEPTEMBER 12, 2011

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

A list of attendees follows the minutes.

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

The Treasurer’s report was accepted on a motion by Lisa Truchon.  The motion was seconded and passed.

A copy of the Treasurer’s report follows the minutes.

Louise also reported that VALA is required to file an annual tax return because of an incorrect/incomplete registration years ago.  Since the individuals who originally applied could not be determined, a new number had to be assigned.  VALA is considered a trade organization rather than a 501C3.

President’s report:  Tom Vickery’s class on equalization held in August was attended by about 70 people and there was an excellent response to the survey of the class.  The equalization data was sent to Bill Johnson for review.  Bill responded and he will be working with IT dept in getting the data in a format that can be disseminated to everyone interested and that can make analysis possible.

Annual Meeting:  sign up starts at 8:30 a.m.  Good speakers lined up, one on mapping and the other on equalization.  Mary Peterson will be at the meeting, probably at the morning session rather than the afternoon session.  The agenda will be adjusted if possible to accommodate her.

We are doing pre-registration this year to cut down on the time to register at the door.

A membership list is being developed as not everyone is on the Act 60 Comp. list.

PV&R–Bill Johnson—In spite of the hurricane and subsequent flooding, no town has lost its capacity to  maintain its grand lists.  There have been questions about abatements due to hurricane damage and what do we do about this year’s grand list. Since the damage from the storm was done after April 1, it would not be appropriate to make changes in value or abate taxes for this year.  How it will affect next year’s grand list remains to be seen, it will be an assessment issue, houses that have been destroyed, and land that has been radically changed.  There is also the issue of the effect on the overall market—the tourist trade both in the fall and ski season.  This will be a very complex issue as it plays out in the next year or so.  To the degree we can get people back into the state for fall foliage or ski season, will have an effect on values.  Irene will continue to be the big story for some time to come.

EPTTR—the next version will allow Listers to be able to access  PTTR’s.  PV&R wants to provide download ability.  John Fike will talk with Michelle Wilson re: a committee for PTTR issues, how it is going to happen,

whether it will be a read only or print only document, and what will be the variable issues that will make this more user friendly for Listers.

Tax abatement:  Because of the damages due to the hurricane a question was raised about abatement of education taxes and that the Tax Commissioner has authority to abate education taxes.  However, this only applies if the State bills taxes in lieu of a town.  Any changes to this would take a change in statute for the state to forgive the education portion.  Statute cited is

If town fails to administer its taxes, then #3 kicks in.  Towns can abate municipal and education taxes but  the state will still get their 100%.  Towns would have to eat the school portion. Board of Abatements need to be sensitive to town budgets. It is important for Selectboards, BCA, and abatement boards to know the effects of abatement on the grand list and the tax rate.   Listers need to be proactive—get an inventory of loss and extent of loss/damages.

There will be some money available from the Federal Government, for emergency relief.  Still a tussle in Washington about funding, but there probably won’t be much more than what FEMA will provide.  Care needs to be taken regarding action as a result of the hurricane and flooding.  Vt has AAA bond rating.  But if we do things that the rating agencies do not think are prudent, it could reduce the states rating.  Bill will ask DA’s and Listers to find out the extent of the damages, how many houses lost, etc.  Some properties are destroyed…and people will not be able to rebuild—not allowed by EPA.  All this to determine the effect on the grand lists and then what will be the effect on next year’s grand lists.  Perhaps a range in dollars or percentages for the loss to see where towns are at………also, a range from properties that are damaged, but can be rebuilt to properties where buildings are destroyed and the land is gone.

Towns need some guidelines—criteria that PVR is looking for, rather than let each town determine their damages based on their opinions.   Boards of Abatement shouldn’t act too quickly, but should wait to see what State response may or may not be regarding State aid.  There are issues of insurance—some people have flood insurance but many do not.  Grand Lists will take a hit next year for sure, we just don’t know the extent.

NEMRC—Chris Miele—New version of Apex;   the Help Desk is looking for ways to get it on everyone’s computer—not complicated but just takes lots of time to accomplish.  Chris is looking for ways to refine program—get rid of non-essentials.  Apex 4 has to expire or needs to be uninstalled before Apex 5 can be installed.

There is a new CAMA committee to continue the work on enhancements to the program.  A question was asked if there is any way to retrieve cost sheets from prior years….answer is “no”.

Chris and Ed Clodfelter will be holding a CAMA basics class at the end of September.

In light of the problems encountered as a result of the hurricane and especially the flooding, the issue of disaster recovery is even more relevant.  Backups are critical!!!!

NEMRC has started to do support for CAMA as of this summer.

Ed Clodfelter is now affiliated with NEMRC on a temporary part time basis, will be more full time next year, doing training and support.  Ed also emphasized the necessity of disaster recovery and the digitization of data.

Good time for Listers to make sure that our towns records are safe.

More information will go out in the next newsletter.

Education:  VALA Scholarship survey:  out of 50 surveys, 22 didn’t know that VALA offered a scholarship.

John Vickery recommended keeping the scholarship for a couple more years, do better advertising, and see if there are more takers.  He suggested lowering the amount from $1000.00 to $750.00 as the thousand dollar amount is not sustainable.

The scholarship fund could be self sustaining from the revenue generated by classes sponsored by VALA.  The proceeds from the equalization study seminar conducted by Tom Vickery will be used to hire a consultant to review the State’s current equalization study.

There was discussion regarding dues and that they should reflect the costs of the organization.

Penny Allyn announced that 30 new VALA memberships were received at the time of Tom’s class.

Suggestions for classes, either as a seminar or at the TOEC’s were reading deeds as well as the many versions of “Trusts” and the effect they have.

Web Site:  Penny reported that the website will not be up and running by the Annual Meeting, but will be shortly after that.  There should be a display at the Annual Meeting to show the different programs that will be available on the new website.   Regarding cost, there will be a $1500 one time fee.  Penny and Carol Hammond will be inputting data at first.  John will talk to Chuck Burt as to the costs of maintaining the web site.

John asked if the VALA  newsletter could be sent to our legislators and the answer is  “yes”.  It is important for VALA to maintain visibility with our legislators.

Finance Committee:  The committee has made the following recommendations for dues:

Lister Office            $50.00
Individual            $25.00
Professional            $35.00
Government            $25.00

Dues will follow the fiscal year and be due July 1.  Changes will take place July 1, 2012.

Membership Committee:  Penny Allyn, John Fike, Carol Hammond
Bylaws need to be looked at to make sure all items are applicable.  In November we should establish a committee to look at the bylaws.

After more discussion, Camilla moved to adjust the new dues structure for 2012 to be presented at annual meeting with an additional bullet of “Other”.  The motion was seconded and passed.

Pat French moved to elect John Fike as President for the upcoming year.  Pauline Moore seconded the motion.  Motion passed.

Ed Clodfelter moved to adjourn.  Motion was seconded and passed.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Hammond

Financials

Balance forward in Checking  $5,408.35
General Fund Balance  4,408.35
Dues Received  585.00
Expenses paid
     Copies  (5.10)
     Postage  (9.00)
     Supplies  (24.00)
     Vt. Sec of State  (50.00)
Total General Fund Expenses  (88.10)
General Fund Balance 9/1/2011  4,905.25
Equalization Class Income  2,250.00  2,250.00
Equalization Class Expense
     Copies  (292.00)
     Mileage  (43.86)
     Postage  (1.28)
     Supplies  (19.99)
Total Expense  (357.13)
Net Equalization Course Income  1,892.87
Scholarship Fund  1,000.00
Balance in Checking 9/1/2011  $7,798.12
For fiscal year 2011-12 we have received 32 memberships paid = 480 plus one pre paid for this year
and 3 more future years prepaid at $15, all paid in previous year.

Attendance

Name Town County
Todd LeBlance S Burlington Chittenden
Ed Clodfelter Berlin Washington
Mark Paulsen
Camilla Roberts Rockingham Windham
Charlie Degener Woodstock Windsor
Carol Wood Woodstock Windsor
Penny Allyn Reading Windsor
Gussie Graves Fayston Washington
Sally Archer Roxbury Washington
Robin Chapman Fairfax Franklin
Patricia McNall Fairfax Franklin
Teresa Godfrey Brookfield Orange
David Alexander Brookfield Orange
Bill Johnson PVR
Chris Miele NEMRC
Noёl Walker Fairlee Orange
John Wetzel Fairlee Orange
Tom Vickery Stowe Lamoille
John Vickery Burlington Chittenden
Louise Ferris-Burt Bethel Windsor
Pat French Randolph Orange
Joyce Scribner Manchester Bennington
Pauline Moore Manchester Bennington
Lisa Truchon Lincoln Addison
Randy Viens Essex Chittenden
Charles Mason Pawlet Rutland
Raymond Duquette Pawlet Rutland
Carol Hammond Vernon Windham
Babs Lynde Westminster Windham
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