GENERAL MEETING MINUTES May 6th, 2015
VLCT Steve Jeffries gave a review of the next two weeks:
- Legislature is pretty quiet right now and not many things that affect Listers.
- Department of Natural Resources reimbursement for 204 towns is under two different programs.
- Legislature voted to take ½ million dollars out of Pilot Program. Agency of Natural Resources land affected next year.
- State buildings valued at $5.8 million going up to $6.4 million. Briefly discussed insurance value versus fair market value.
- Meals and Room Tax will be increased.
- Tax rate for education still in play.
- House freezing resident and non-resident tax rate.
- CU nothing new at this time.
President John Fike stated that as of July 10th, Steve Jeffries will be retiring from VLCT after having served them well for 37 years. Talked of recognizing him but he does not want another plaque. Steve stated he enjoyed his job and VLCT is close to choosing his replacement. Health Care, Utilities, Taxes are bottle necked in Legislature. Transportation must notify Listers if land is taken to change road if valued more than $10,000.
Jim Knapp PVR announced the following:
- Jim will be leaving PVR on May 22nd to join a Title Insurance Company.
- Discussed grant for Lister Education Funds. Towns will now have to apply for a grant for reimbursement of education costs. Did manage to get a waiver for this for one year. Soon there will be a new way of doing things. Listers to be notified how much money is available for education and then will have to go to site to obtain certificate for class. Anyone who pays for class will be reimbursed for amount up to their limit. Towns will need to sign off on grant agreement.
- Maintenance/Reappraisal Fee is $9.50 per parcel and will become a grant as well. John Fike stated the state knows who goes to the classes and who does not. There has been no audit trail to track education funds and how they are being used. Have heard there is not a change in funds but rather how they are administered. Funds can be used for PVR, IAAO, VALA classes, etc. Money can be used for these classes, however grant amount will not exceed the Town’s formulae fund limit.
- There has been a significant amount of confusion over reappraisal funds. Towns will need to send audit financial report with line item amount for reappraisal funds. Money can be used for maintenance or reappraisal. State wants to know how much and what money is used for and will take effect the next payment after July 1st. Listers need to talk to their Selectboard and convey changing to a line item in their financial report. Do not need to apply every year is the goal. Report needs to be signed off by Selectboard/Treasurer. Lister salaries are not to be paid out of this fund (not sure at this time). If there are specific expenditures they should be on list. To see covered expenditures send a note to Jim Knapp. Money was never allowed to be used to pay Listers (opinion). Towns that have not separated these funds in the past must now do so. Money is to be used for what it was intended. If Listers do not send in certificates for classes money goes away (use it or lose it). Hoping to make new grant process as painless as possible. There is a good relationship between VALA and PVR and will help in any way possible. The final guidelines are a work in progress.
- Lake Champlain cleanup has become an issue and how to pay for it. Proposals are: to increase property transfer tax starting July 1st. Senate wants all citizens in Vermont to pay $25.00 every year to clean up the water. Total 345,000 parcels. How to collect? New line on tax bill. Next year all those in the basin will pay and the following year all property owners will pay. This is not final and Income/Sales Tax did not pass. Transfer Tax is most recent idea. State is not pushing this through but rather the EPA is because of the condition of the lake. Better to be proactive than have the EPA dictate what is to be done.
- Listers/Assessors did a great job valuing exempt properties. Push is on to correctly classify commercial properties. Last expenditure report triggered exempt properties with zero value.
- All is a work in progress, if any questions please send to Jim Knapp. There are no resources for re-categorizing to rebuild statistical study.
Michelle Wilson PVR stated the following:
- Good job was done at TOEC.
- Great compliance for exempt properties. Make sure exempt properties have insurance values if unable to determine real values. Really want real values whenever possible. Should add values if owners of exempt properties are not in compliance. Still need some kind of value. Call your district advisors if you need help.
- A lot of exempt buildings only have liability insurance or building value + contents. Give it best shot and try to categorize correctly. Report on exempt properties is not new. Get as close to fair market value as possible. Every state values differently.
- Hot button is Homesteads. 183 days on property (and does not have to be concurrent). Renter can be on property 182 days. April 1st has no effect on homestead. Listers must deal with facts only–don’t assume a homestead because it can turn into a legal problem if incorrect. Be careful not to assume things that are not reality. Do a Listers respond if there is a question? Let the Tax Department do their job. Veterans, Homesteads, Business, etc.—let Heidi, Crystal and Judy do their job. They have more resources. Judy makes critical legal decisions. Looking at other forms of information that is unknown to Listers.
- Doug Lay did a very good job at TOEC regarding Solar. The question is “not if, but when” solar comes to your town. Green Mountain has been taking the initiative to be in the forefront. Resources on PVR website. Call DA if needed. Small solar installations are exempt but should be noted. Solar is here and is expanding every day and is continually evolving!
President John Fike brought up the following:
- Camilla Roberts from Rockingham had questions regarding blighted properties. What to do when properties are not kept up but the abutters are? How do you address? Land grade adjustment should be done and not a building adjustment.
- Houses that are too close to the road with truck traffic are not selling. Particularly in village has become a neighborhood factor. With a down market, demographics change has a bigger impact.
- Definition of blighted differs from one person to another. Have to look at sales in the Equalization Study over three years. Grand List is not static but rather changes over time.
- Rutland Zoning/Listers/Development has done a good job on their blighted areas.
- Todd LeBlanc had a good answer for small back yard green houses. They have no value.
Chris Miele NEMRC reported on the following:
- The Grand List Seminar had good attendance.
- PVR/NEMRC has been testing software—Grand List changes coming out.
- Covenant Housing is a big thing, if problem call Chris.
- Homestead and CU downloads available. Don’t wait to back up. It is paramount to back up every day.
- Webinar Change of Appraisal has been pushed back.
- NEMRC is looking forward to working with the new Director of PVR and are sorry to see Jim Knapp leave.
- Real Data was bought out in December.
President John Fike commented that the “Select board’s often are not aware what Listers do and that the profession has changed dramatically”.
Louise Ferris-Burt motioned to adjourn the General Meeting and Joyce Scribner seconded the motion. Meeting adjourned at 12:05 pm.
Meeting Minutes respectfully submitted by,