Randy Viens – Legislative Committee spoke on behalf of Steve Jeffrey on the current status of the legislature and the following was discussed:

  • Current Use went through the gamut of three committees and was 100% different from the written House Bill when it landed in the Senate.
  • Under consideration is a penalty of 10% full market value straight across the board for early withdrawal.
  • The Current Use Tax Coalition met Tuesday and included Randy Vien and Bill Moore from the Farm Bureau (a total of  18 different organizations) met and  asked Senator Star if he would give a letter on the Tiered System.
  • Currently, the CU Bill in all likelihood is falling apart and nothing will happen to it.  There are too many versions to reconcile in the Senate.
  • Solar Valuation is in the Senate.   Listers would appraise it the first year and not re-evaluate it until there is a change in legislation.  Value for solar would be utilizing the  income approach, the Sandia Model for the Municipal side, for 70% avg. of Fair Market Value. $4/KW on Education side shared with $8/KW for municipal.  Also effecting valuation is the size of fields, anything less than 50KW the solar energy rating would be net metered.  This won’t come into effect until next January.  This would hopefully give PVR time to get education on this.  Babs Lynde from Westminster strongly encouraged PVR to provide education about Solar before next year.
  • Subsidized Housing:  Essex won their Supreme Court case.  VALA Vice President Todd LeBlanc and Randy Viens, Legislative Committee Chair suggested that they value subsidized housing like they do solar, and that would help make equity all across the state.  The Legislature did not heed their advice.  The Legislature amended the definition, not the exemption side.  Towns can come up with a Fair Market Value, and then assess it at 60-70% of that Fair Market Value.
  • Open Meeting Law is not going anywhere.  Update: changes were passed.
  • PILOT Program was reduced by $500,000 as projected.  You may email VALA for the PILOT chart.
  • VALA would like to give a personal Thank you to Todd LeBlanc, Randy Viens, and John Fike for all their time spent at the Legislature.

Bill Johnson PVR:

  1. Discussion on Methane Digesters included the following:  Methane Digesters are part of the farms operations which meet in a broad sense the definition of a farm building. There is 5 or 6 enrolled state wide, more are expected to enroll. 15-20 exist state wide, really only economical for big farms.  Once enrolled their value is based on income.  The cost of having them in the program puts strain on the program.  In the Current Use Bill language the Digester is classified as a farm building, but no reimbursement to municipalities.  The Current Use Bill is on life support at the moment.  If you need help valuing these Digesters, call Doug Lay.  The Digesters are valuable pieces of property producing high income, benefits to the environment, with the potential to increase the cost of the program.  Right now they are taxable to towns.
  2. There is a Lister position vacancy on the CU Advisory Board.  The position is appointed by the Governor.  A note should be sent to Susan Spaulding if you want to give the Governor a submission.
  3. ANR-PILOT:  There are new values.  40% of values decreased.  There were a sizable number of sales, consistently at $1K an acre throughout the state.  ANR needs some savings.  ANR % went up a lot and made a moratorium- if it passes ignore the letter that was sent out this past January.  The Values are to be used for FY15, FY16 values are yet to be made.  Whatever the values were set at last year are to be used as PILOT for this year if the moratorium passes.  ANR land issues should be addressed to Doug Lay.  Brad Jackson is now the new Mary Jane Grace.  If you have questions contact Brad Jackson for Building questions and Doug Lay for Land questions.  You can also contact Doug Lay for Communication Towers.

Education Committee John Vickery and Vice-President Todd LeBlanc:

*TOEC attendance was up a little from last year.  The meetings went off satisfactory and no negative feed-back.

*Attendees were mostly Clerks, Treasurers, and Listers.  This could be an opportunity for VALA and the Clerks and Treasurers for taking over TOEC.

*Future possibilities for TOEC would be for Listers and Town Clerks and Treasurer to combine meetings and start off with separate meetings then go off onto separate classes.  Joining groups for interactive exercises and do something together to understand why and how each group does things.   Potential cost savings larger groups.

*Samples of comments were:

  1. Liked timing of Lister Forum in the Middle of the day.
  2. Liked new topics.
  3. Surprised by number of new Listers in attendance.
  4. Providing classes that get them off and running is important.
  5. Great job with Display Board, and new flyers.

*Website/Survey Monkey:  Was put on VALA website for comments and completion.  A survey question was:  Where should the Annual Meeting be held?

VALA President John Fike

Currently in the process of a marketing campaign for non-membership town and member

Membership Chair Penny Allyn

The Spring Newsletter is out and being sent via email to all the member towns.  Please send photo’s for the Newsletter and forward any information you would like to be included.

John Vickery Education Committee and Vice-President Todd LeBlanc

Annual Meeting Survey:  There was a question brought up about moving the Annual Meeting location.  The Survey showed that Listers were split with staying at VTC or moving to Lake Morey.  Meeting Issues were also all the same.  Open discussion involved the following:

Lake Morey is 3 times more expensive. Consider: parking, food, central location, business first then the speaker, quicker, better to get business done first.  Camilla Roberts from Rockingham would rather have the money go to VALA communications (website, education), or elsewhere than on one single event. Louise from Bethel:  Suggested that a $25 fee to attend might discourage people from coming, but others might spend more money for a nicer location.

Attendance expected to be 80 people on average attend, and only 60 people took the survey.   White Church was brought up as a more economical option.

Joyce Scribner from Manchester made a motion to go back to the White Church in Bethel for the Annual Meeting this year.  Louise from Bethel seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Open discussion was done on the following:  White Church has handicap access and is on one level. Chairs and tables are provided, need to pay a caterer and obtain a donation of cookies.

Pat French from Randolph will notify VTC about canceling date of September 12th.  Louise from Bethel is to check on September 19th date, or September 12th if the 19th is not available.  There are no current guest speakers.  Committee to check for speakers.   We will have regular meeting on the 3rd and will have time for the By-Laws.

*Lister of the Year Candidates still needed.

*Future possibilities for TOEC would be for Listers and Town Clerks and Treasurer to combine meetings and start off with separate meetings then go off onto separate classes.  Joining groups for interactive exercises and do something together to understand why and how each group does things.   Potential cost savings larger groups.

Chris Miele from NEMRC discussed Hot Topics: Tax Exempt Parcels-Chris (NEMRC) There is a modification to the drop down list.  Chris can’t tell you what Statute “it’s supposed to be in”, he just provides the statutes given to him by the state.  Town voted exemptions are not the same.

Tom Vickery Legislative Committee spoke on assessed value as opposed to insured value as an estimate of FMV, or your best guess.  Be careful with insurance values.

The last owner or possessor on April 1st is the owner as of April 1st.

  • Town of Benson – “We’re going up, no loss of value”.
  • Town of Bethel-“Mixed Bag.  If it is maintained there is no loss of value, if it’s elderly couple on the low end or going into nursing home, there is a drop in value.”
  • Town of Reading-“Unusual houses less value. Typical houses are okay.”
  • Town of Vernon-“2013 Sales study of 112%–CLA that is holding for the past three years.”
  • Town of Plymouth-“2012 The Resort with the Marina closed and Stables and with that values dropped and the Home Owners Association wants their values down.”

“Effective age and condition are playing a bigger role in value.”  “Be proactive.  Address issues and do them, than waiting for appeals”

Respectfully submitted by Mimi Bernstein

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