President John Fike opened the meeting with a motion to pass the secretary’s minutes from the previous VALA Meeting.  Louise Ferris-Burt from Bethel made the first motion and Bab’s from Westminster seconded the motion.

VALA Treasurer Don Sweetser reported “no financial activity” in April, however there were three scholarships given out since the last bi-monthly VALA meeting.  Vala’s financial report was distributed to the Directors.

Income/expense of classes broken out per Tom Vickery’s request and report was distributed to Directors. There is a positive cash flow generated from the VALA Education classes.  Lisa from Lincoln motioned to pass the financial report and Charles 2nd the motion.

President John Fike completed a report on his Testimony on H.406.  Language change has to do with majority of listers–changed from Listers to a paid assessor and town can vote back Listers into office.

President Fike announced that he cannot attend the NE Meeting.

Tom Vickery has been doing a lot of work on the Equalization Study and he will give a more indepth summary later in the meeting.

A new chair for the Finance Committee is needed.

Discussed need for Prudent Reserves.  Possibly look into placing advertisements in the VALA Newsletter/Web site.   Currently Lister/Assessor membership at 30% throughout the State of Vermont .  Goal would be to increase those members to 100%.  Looking for new ideas to be brought to Board Members.  Putting together a pamphlet on recruitment of new members in May/June.

Discussed putting together a Lister of the Year Committee.  VALA Secretary Carol Hammond to put out nomination forms on comp 60 and Membership Chair Penny Allyn will forward nomination forms via email to members.

Sent out newsletter via email this quarter and posted on the web site as well.  Only three emails came back as undeliverable.  Membership via email is now divided by county making it easier to send out newsletter/notices.  Director PVR Bill Johnson has an outstanding article that has been posted on the VALA website.  Also the VALA Registration form for 2013-2014 is now available on the web.

Looking at posting a form on the VALA website that would allow for feedback on the TOEC Workshops.

Tom Vickery from the Legislative Committee discussed Current Use issues.  Bobby Star is holding up and don’t think it will go anywhere this year.  VLCT has another committee starting up—John Fike asked to be on the committee.  Extensive discussion held regarding Public and Charitable (public use) issues with church parsonages that are being rented because of a lack of ministers (non-taxed).  Report expected by 1st of the year.  Louise Ferris-Burt has requested to be on the committee.  There will be (1) member of VLCT and (1) member of VALA on the committee.  Looking at inequity where some town’s tax and some don’t.  Committee will look at clarification and how to deal with these issues.

Randy Viens from the Legislative Committee put together a summary of Bills that is highlighted in the latest VALA Spring Newsletter.

Lisa from Lincoln reported that it was good to see so many new Listers at the Bob Estey one-day IAAO (100 class).  Hope to use VALA to promote classes.  IAAO Depreciation 155 class October 22-23rd.

Penny Allyn Membership Chair reviewed VALA website visits for March.  Visitor checking out the VALA website were from as far away as Malaysia, India, South Africa, France, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Sweden.   Regions visited by state were from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Arizona, Texas and Illinois.  There were 71.89 new visitors and 28.10 returning visitors to the site.  The highest page views were for education

VALA Newsletter has been emailed to members and also posted on the VALA website.

NEMRC Chris Miele was not available, however Current Use Workshop was well attended and changes to the current use software were briefly discussed.

Tom Vickery from the Legislative Committee reported that he has worked for more than 1 year on the Equalization Study to provide recommendations for changes to the Equalization Study and work with PVR to improve the study.  Legislative action will need to be done and establishment of best lister practices throughout the state.  The committee has developed five recommendations that were presented and will be posted in more detail on the VALA website.  VALA will need to review the recommendations.  PV&R did make changes years ago from V1 category to S1 category.  Tom stated homestead and non-homestead not an issue.  Current Use looks at net value.

1st recommendation is what are categories and measurement?  Increase 6 acre to 15 acre—this will increase R1 category.  With values for 10-15-20 acres there is more disparity.  Smaller towns have so few sales and if there is more R1’s in a category they are better represented.  These are only recommendations to PV&R.  If there are any concerns they need to be heard from members.  Homestead/housesite weighs more important than more acreage in CU.  Zoning really dictates value.  Want study to be as accurate and less volatile as possible.  Want to have categories more meaningful.  Work is not on PV&R but rather Listers for best practices.

2nd recommendation is to change study from 3 year to 2 year study.  Can use 3-4 year study with a time adjustment if there are not enough sales.  Only 5 states do not use time adjustments.  Utility should not be added to CLA, not be part of the equalization study.  Want to decrease volatility.  Entire study will be put on the website so everyone can view.  Motion was made to proceed by Charles and 2nd by Babs.

Lisa from Lincoln agreed with Tom Vickery.  Need to put information on website for all members to view and provide feedback.  Need to come to a more collaborative decision to present to PV&R.

Tom Vickery stated that the decision is up to PV&R not VALA.  VALA is more recognized  for positive action now.  Emails to be sent to members and also placed on comp 60 regarding input/feedback.  Lisa from Lincoln wants a 6th recommendation and will work with Tom Vickery.  Motion was passed.

President John Fike requested that Tom Vickery be reimbursed for two years work.  $750 will be paid.  Don made 1st motion and Pat 2nd motion.

Date of Annual Meeting will be September 20th at the Vermont Technical College which currently is free.  It would cost $2000 to move meeting to Lake Morey.  75+ members attend meeting.  Most places are booked 6-12 months in advance.  Board voted to go with Vermont Technical College this year.  Don Sweetser motioned to look into alternative locations for 2014 and Bab’s 2nd that motion.

Louise Ferris-Burt voted to adjourn the meeting.

Meeting minutes respectfully submitted by,

Penny Ally, Membership Chair


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