MINUTES OF THE JANUARY 8, 2014 VALA DIRECTORS’ MEETING
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by President John Fike.
Babs Lynde made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 8, 2013 meeting. The motion was seconded and passed.
The Treasurer’s report was presented by Pauline Moore. It was recommended that signer/co-signers should not all be officers.
Also, any check written for over $1,000.00 needs two signatures.
The motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded and passed.
The President reviewed his report and stated that revenue has increased over 200% in the last 2 years. Membership has doubled in 3 years. Many new towns have joined VALA especially towns from the Northeast Kingdom—smaller towns than larger towns have joined. The reason for this is greater visibility—more people know who we are and what we do.
VALA Vice President Todd Leblanc asked if we should market VALA to different agencies in the State. Perhaps we could have Steve Jeffrey include an article in his monthly newsletter. President John Fike will suggest this to Mr. Jeffrey.
We now have 15 professional memberships.
A comment was made as to the changes in Listers’ responsibilities over the years and that most “listing” was done before spring planting.
There were 134 responses to a survey on Lister pay, benefits, etc. 34 towns responded to the mapping survey.
Legislative issues that were discussed included:
- Tax exempt properties and the push to get a meaningful database of these properties throughout the state.
- Homestead declarations and deadline for filing
- Solar taxation
- Tax mapping concept for the state
President John Fike stated that the Board of Directors needs to be ambassadors for VALA. His goal is $6,000 in revenue this year. We need to establish a prudent reserve with one year’s expenses.
There needs to be communication between NEMRC, PV&R, VALA and IAAO regarding the timing and topics of educational offerings so that there will be no scheduling conflicts and Listers will be able to attend a variety of classes. A three-year cyclical schedule is recommended.
Staff evolution infrastructure: Secretary Carol Hammond will be retiring as secretary this year. It is hoped that someone will be stepping up to take the position. (Carol noted that she can still make things for coffee break.) If no one comes forward by March, President John Fike will start making phone calls. Term limits are a good idea and even though the officers only serve for one year and may be re-elected, people should not think that is the way it always will be. They shouldn’t feel that they have to serve for many years. Also, there is enough revenue so that stipends could be offered for future officers.
Website/newsletter: Penny Allyn has invested a huge amount of time creating and maintaining the website and newsletter.
TOEC: still being organized—many topics for workshops have been suggested. John Vickery is searching sites for the meetings, perhaps Manchester. Because the clerks and treasurers will be part of the spring TOECs, attendance should increase from about 15 to 300.
Membership Chair Penny Allyn said she still received reports from Chuck as to how many people have visited the VALA website. New visitors make up more hits than returning ones. The Newsletter gets the most hits, articles—second; and meeting minutes come in third.
Chris Meile from NEMRC suggested a video on best practices for the Listers office. This would be beneficial for people who want to know what a Lister’s office looks like. It wouldn’t necessarily be geared to new Listers. A town with approximately 850 parcels will be used for the model.
CAMA: PV&R has some money and would like to establish a statewide database.
In the future, the President’s Report will be included on the website before the quarterly meeting.
Tom Vickery will be working on a special project—evaluation studies—if a town is going to appeal their sales studies, Tom would like to review them. He would like to make comparisons of the studies with recommendations versus what we have now; perhaps combining categories which should mean less volatility in the study from year to year. Small towns don’t have many sales and have high COD’s—part of the problem is too many categories.
John Vickery moved to support Tom Vickery’s efforts on reviewing towns under 1000 parcels. The motion was seconded and passed.
Prudent Reserve will be a topic at the next meeting….a memo will go out for people’s thoughts.
Babs Lynde made a motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
Carol Hammond, Secretary (for 7 more meetings)