The meeting was called to order at approximately 10:10 a.m. with 33 in attendance representing 20 towns and 10 counties.
VLCT–Jim Barlow: Jim said he had questions regarding the concepts of fair market value vs. equalization. He has been asked questions by Listers whose CLA is above 100%. The Supreme Court has ruled that no property can be assessed higher than 100% of fair market value. How should this be handled? What is the proper response? The issue comes up every year with utilities and they cannot be raised to above 100% of fair market value. The equalization is a different part of the equation. Mr. Barlow expressed his concern that he should not be the one in the forefront trying to explain fair market value and equalization and who should it be? There followed lengthy discussion on the subject. Because there is nothing in place to address a declining market, property owners could essentially appeal their assessments that are over 100% of fair market value to the State Appraiser and win. Negotiation with the property owner is usually necessary if a mutually agreed upon figure cannot be reached.
VLCT–Steve Jeffrey: Steve said there will be a summer study for property tax exemptions; however no one is in charge.
Doug Lay said that in his area of the state, there are a lot of property sales. Clarissa from Hartford warned against manipulating the numbers…i.e. if the town is over by 5-10%, should the whole town be reduced and if values go up next year, would values have to be raised?
John stressed the importance of knowing your town, keeping close watch on COD, and watch for developing trends in the real estate market.
The State and IAAO agree that a CLA between 90-110% is acceptable, but they also say that 100% FMV is required. hmmm!
Solar arrays over 10 kw are taxed as real property whether they are on a roof or on the ground. There is a revised inventory form for utilities, solar arrays and personal property.
CURRENT USE–Elizabeth Hunt: If there are solar arrays on Current Use Property, they should be only on excluded land.
They are incredibly busy this year and they are not keeping up even though they have more administrative staff than before. She noted that Current Use liens will be subordinated to mortgage liens. E-Current Use is coming. By September, there will be a new application for E-CU filing..old application forms should be thrown away. New forms will be two pages and there will be an additional charge for the second page. These forms will be used in-house this fall. There will be an additional form if there is more than one owner. The on-line applications for the public will be available in January or February of 2014. Currrent Use values this year will be $119 for forest land and $253 or $254 for farmland. Change notices no not have to be sent if the change is only for the amount that Current Use has set.
There was discussion on valuation of mobile homes. Even if there are additions, renovations, etc., it is still a mobile home. Banks have a different way of perceiving mobile homes which affects financing. Deal with them case by case.
There was discussion about houses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene and FEMA responses. A number of Listers stated that if a house was damaged and not livable, the value was removed.
Foreclosure and forms–sometimes there is no documentation for Listers. Doug Lay provided a handout which provides different scenarios. Final paperwork can take months, even years to get processed. Listers should get information on foreclosure/transfer of ownership–Listers need documentation.
There was discussion on sugar houses and sugar bush and how they should be valued. There is nothing in Marshall & Swift for sugar houses. The equipment inside the building is personal property. Babs Lynde stated that she uses material shed for the building category. Consensus is that each town set up their own criteria and keep good documentation.
There was discussion on statistical analysis..what is involved, from simple to more complex.
Don Sweetser asked about the possibility of a class on how to use the Comparables Report in CAMA–and that it would need to be on a level that even new Listers would be able to understand. John Vickery said it should be easy enough to put together a workshop that would help both new and seasoned Listers.
Bruce Shields moved to adjourn. The motion was seconded and passed.
The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.
Carol Hammond, Secretary