MINUTES OF THE VALA ANNUAL MEETING
SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by President John Fike who welcomed those present and briefly reviewed what has been accomplished this past year as well as goals for the future.. A copy of his report is attached.
There were 45 towns from 14 counties represented. PV&R was well represented as well as NEMRC.
The following slate of officers was approved by the VALA Board of Directors for election by the members at the 2013 Annual Meeting. Nominations can also be made from the floor for any of the following positions.
President: John Fike
Vice President: Todd LeBlanc
Secretary: Mimi Burstein
Treasurer: Pauline Moore
With no other nominations forthcoming, Lisa Truchon made a motion to accept the slate of officers recommended by the nomination committee. The motion was seconded and the motion passed.
The President’s Report was reviewed and is on the opening page of the VALA website.
Treasurer’s Report: Pauline Moore reviewed the VALA Budget for 2014-2015 noting that VALA has $14,000 in the bank. Membership is at 100 with $5100.00 in dues paid to date. $2500.00 has been designated for education and a line item for Events was added. Don Sweetser moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded and passed.
An audit committee was formed last year and an audit was completed by Robin Chapman and Lisa Truchon of the financial operations of VALA.
They reported that the financial statements of VALA appear to be fairly represented.
Warren Lathrop made a motion to accept the audit as presented. The motion was seconded and the motion passed.
Recommended changes to the By-Laws and Constitution were presented. Babs Lynde moved to accept the changes as presented. The motion was seconded and passed.
The Legislative Committee spent much time in the House and Senate this past session. Three major bills being followed were: Shared Equity Housing, Solar Capacity Tax, and Current Use. (Yes, Current Use again!)
Carol Hammond was recognized for 12 years as Secretary for VALA and presented with a plaque and a jug of maple syrup. Carol chose not to seek the office of Secretary for the upcoming year. At this time Carol was given the honor of drawing the name of a town who had pre-registered for the Annual Meeting with the prize being a year’s free VALA membership. The winner was the Town of Chittenden in Rutland County.
Vice President Todd LeBlanc introduced officers and committee heads to the group.
Michael P. Cyprian Lister of the Year Award:
After a brief review of the background of the Michael P. Cyprian Award by Vice President Todd LeBlanc, the award was presented to John Fike and Penny Allyn. This is the first time in VALA’s history that there have been co-recipients of this award. Both John and Penny have done an amazing amount of work in marketing VALA and encouraging towns to get involved to make VALA’s voice heard both in town government and in Montpelier. Full write-ups are recorded at the Lister of the Year section.
A number of Listers have earned Lister designations based on the classes they have taken and Michelle Wilson gave out certificates to these Listers which included John Vickery, Ed Clodfelter, Teri Gildersleeve, Roger Kilbourn, Daniel Fife, Al Coonradt, John Tiffany, Lisa Truchon, Paul Noble, Ken Nosek, Barb Schlessinger. If I have missed any names I apologize in advance.
Lisa Truchon reviewed the roles and responsibilities of Delegates.
There was discussion on the following subjects;
Open Meeting Law, what does and does not qualify.
Covenant Housing—importance of starting with fair market value before equalizing and applying discount
Homestead—legislature has determined 183 days in residence, not necessarily consecutive days, to be the criteria for eligibility for a homestead
Solar Arrays—changes in formula for taxation
VLCT and VALA trying to work with the Tax Department for aid to towns for costs of “after BCA” appeals
TOECs—2014 is the 75th year of TOEC – looking for possible subjects for workshops
Town Fair—October 9, 2014
VLCT wants to know if VALA would be interested in having the annual meeting at the Town Fair. Since there are more town officials at the Town Fair, it would give Listers and VALA more exposure to other parts of town government. Another possibility is to have VALA’s annual meeting in conjunction with the Town Clerks and Treasurers annual meeting. It was voiced that there is a need to create a bond between Listers and Clerks/Treasurers
Also discussed was the possibility of having someone from VALA attend Clerk/Treasurer meetings and vice versa.
After lunch, there were 4 breakout sessions
Lisa Truchon—solar arrays on leased land
John Vickery—business personal property
Chris Miele—using the Tablet
Todd LeBlanc—office efficiency
A lively Lister Forum ended the day which included the topics:
Open meeting law—signing grand list constitutes an open meeting and must be warned
Websites—posting agendas and meetings
Why can’t IAAO or other on-line classes be approved by PV&R
Waters Act—houses in flood zones—insurance skyrocketing—affecting value of homes if insurance is not affordable……need to check sales to see if there is an impact
50% of towns are assessing over 102%–how to bring assessments down to 100%–statistical? Reappraisal?
Towns’ responsibility is to adjust CLA
Problem with foreclosure sales and auctions being taken as fair market value.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 3:30 p.m.
I wasn’t sure where to include the Trivia Time and the Calcutta Game in the minutes, so I will do it here at the end.
Todd had 4 trivia games during the middle of the day which mostly or perhaps all related to Vermont—little known facts as well as more commonly known.. It was a lot of fun and I for one didn’t realize how much I didn’t know. Lisa and I collaborated and would have done better on one of the trivia sets if we hadn’t listened to a certain person from PV&R. Oh well…….that’s okay, Michelle……oops! I didn’t mean for that to slip out.
The Calcutta Game……….each of us got a ticket when we registered—half into a bowl and half we kept. Throughout the day, Todd drew numbers to eliminate the losers. At the end of the day, the final tickets were drawn and the winning ticket belonged to Karen Galayda of Corinth. The prize was a “Vermont Basket” which was made by Harris Baskets in Vernon. The basket was filled with Vermont products—a block of Cabot Seriously Cheddar donated by Cabot Cheese; 2 pints of Maple Syrup donated by Jamaica Lister Ralph Coleman; and various other goodies all from Vermont. Cabot Cheese also donated a box of cheddar samples for our enjoyment.