MINUTES OF THE BI MONTHLY VALA MEETING NOVEMBER 6, 2013
The meeting was called to order at approximately 10:15 a.m. by President John Fike.
VLCT: Steve Jeffrey—State Education Tax will increase next year by at least 5 cents. School population is still declining.
There is still confusion over the filing date for homesteads. The Legislature wants to move the filing date to Oct. 15th.
Tax exempt properties—the Legislature wants to know exactly how many tax exempt properties are in the State and how much revenue is being lost because of a tax exempt status. An approximate figure of $400 million has been given. They are desperate to expand the tax base in order to get more taxes. Forms will be sent out by the State to tax exempt properties to provide insurance value if fair market value is not available. However, fair market value will always take precedence over insurance value.
The change in the Homestead filing date is on the agenda of the Ways and Means Committee.
New methods are being sought for dealing with taxation of solar facilities which are exempt from the Education tax. Income approach is used on municipal side. A voted exemption or tax stabilization are two options for reducing taxes for solar projects. However, if adjustments are made for solar projects, would adjustments be made for wind or other renewables?
It was noted that solar arrays could add value or could decrease value of property, but there are no sales to prove either way.
PVR—Bill Johnson—Exempt property owners have an obligation to furnish insurance values to the towns. Listers are required to list all tax exempt properties at fair market value and could then apply depreciation to arrive at value.
Bill will get out a technical bulletin or some other document regarding assessment of properties that straddle two towns.
Bill found $1 million for statewide parcel mapping—need to move forward while money is available. This will be tied to grand lists. Towns with good parcel mapping would not have to sign on to the state wide program. It was noted that this is a huge undertaking and the state should look at what towns already have, i.e. GIS
Todd—late filing penalties: penalties can be appealed and the process is the same as for appealing an assessment. Since the penalty has nothing to do with assessment, it should be billed and collected in a different way. Perhaps the appeal of a penalty should change to the Board of Abatement. Much discussion followed.
Tom Vickery made a motion that VALA’s legislative committee go before the Ways & Means Committee, present the problem we have and try to find a solution, that it doesn’t come as an appeal to the Listers but find some other way to settle it. The motion was seconded and passed.*
Todd asked if anyone had thought about county meetings. There were some discussion, but it was suggested to leave it to the Directors or perhaps regional meetings would be a possibility.
Babs said she is in contact with Listers in her area—they email constantly about issues. She feels that since many Listers are part time, they wouldn’t want to commit to another meeting.
Carol reported that she received some positive feedback about regional meetings…maybe meet and then bring back ideas to annual meeting. Todd said he would like to see more net working and get more Listers involved.
Ed Clodfelter would like just a short organizational meeting of the NEMRC/CAMA committee after the regular meeting.
He will be teaching an online Basic CAMA class on Friday.
Chris Miele will be teaching a Basic Cama Class the week of November 18th—3 days/2 hours each—can be done in the office or at home. He will be sending out an email with more information.
Looking at doing a Cama/Microsolve annual seminar. Much like the NEMRC annual seminar. Keep it spread away from the March NEMRC meeting. Chris will also hold a Tablet class because of huge increase in Tablet users. Chris urged everyone to make sure they are backing up and make sure you can reconcile from the time tax bills are sent out to the end of the year.
Babs addressed Bill Johnson with her concern about Current Use information which is sent to Town Clerks rather than Listers. Because of miscommunication, Listers don’t always get forms, information, etc from their Town Clerks.
Current Use forums: behavior of panel was embarrassing. They weren’t listening to neither the state and county foresters nor the Listers. They talked among themselves and didn’t listen. Lois asked if the emails could be forwarded to legislators. Tom said he felt that the legislators at the meeting he attended did not address the issues.
Bill Johnson said there is still a general feeling that Listers over value land in order to get more State hold harmless money. Also there are inconsistencies in valuation—current use as compared to land not in Current Use. There appears to be inconsistencies across the state.
Timberland and land locked land valuations are issues that need attention at another meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.