VALA BI-MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING MINUTES
July 8th, 2015
President John Fike opened the General Meeting with the following discussions:
Budget has now been completed with goal for new membership tentatively set at $6,000.00. Current budget for membership is $5,810.00. Approximately 40% of members have sent in their membership dues to date. Will continue to market VALA Organization to new towns as well as current members.
The new Mission/Vision Statement developed by Vice President Todd LeBlanc with input from County Delegates and Board Members to be presented for a vote at the Annual Meeting is as follows;
The Vermont Assessors and Listers Association’s mission is to advocate for the recognition of Listers and Assessors as qualified property valuation authorities throughout Vermont.
The Vermont Assessors and Listers Association’s vision is to continue the advancement of fair and equitable property assessment standards through continuing education and members support for all property valuation professionals, in conjunction with advocating for fair and equitable taxation practices as it relates to property assessment.
New slate of officers to be voted on at the Annual Meeting will be:
- President Todd LeBlanc – South Burlington
- Vice President Camilla Roberts – Rockingham/Bellow Falls
- Secretary Tamsin Coon – Fairfax
- Treasurer Robert Vickery – Colchester
VALA’s Annual Meeting to be held at Lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont on September 18th this year. Treasurer Pauline Moore estimates attendance to be 90 and President John Fike estimates attendance to be somewhere around 110 people.
There will be an interactive workshop on the use of Tablets in the Listers workplace. Demonstration will be held in another room for small groups of attendees to have hands on experience. Unable to have a tablet for every attendee, however will be able to share with other attendees.
There will be additional speakers at the annual meeting to include a Fee Appraiser/ Bank Appraiser/Broker Real Estate who will talk for approximately 20 minutes each. A Lister Forum is on the annual meeting agenda as well as a person from the State who will discuss Drinking Water/Waste Water/Well Protection Areas.
Information and Agenda will be going out on VALA’s website at www.valavt.org and also on comp 60 at a future date.
PV&R Director Douglas Farnham spoke of sending a bio for the July Newsletter. Mr. Farnham discussed finalizing the Lister Education Fund. Agreements are to be signed by towns and they have until January to submit to State. This year’s funds will go into the fund. A fact sheet will be forthcoming that will be easier to understand (he also noted that this is not a new law). To qualify for Education Fund reimbursement, back up information is required that acknowledges education class was completed. Have not had a chance to speak with lawyers as of yet.
VALA attendees requested a copy of statutory referencing Grant Account. Response will be forwarded to President John Fike who will then forward to all members via comp 60. Mr. Farnham stated this is not about saving money, but rather document for control to ensure monies are being spent on education. The State views Listers as very important.
President John Fike will send out VALA’s response to “Use It or Lose It”. Understand money not used in general fund but used for educational purposes.
If submitted prior to January 1st it will be authorized. Need to be mindful to keep certificates. The industry standard is to provide certificates that Listers have actually attended classes. Believe that Listers will need receipt/certificate for reimbursement.
$8.50 a parcel already sent out. State to work with VALA for common solution. On local level Listers do not need more paperwork. With Pilot Program – only need agreement to be signed. Federal Law requires State to manage grants properly.
President John Fike stated that approved classes have been expanded to include VALA/NEMRC/IAAO/ & VLTC classes by the Legislature and are accepted for reimbursement, VALA wants to work with PV&R to raise education levels. Members stated it is wise to have VALA involved with PV&R since VALA represents all Listers/Assessors in Vermont. VALA assistance has been offered because it is a good idea and makes sense.
Mr. Farnham indicated there was information concerning Covenant Housing that was distributed at GL finalized. Apologized for getting it out so late and for those towns who have sent in to please put numbers in and print new 411 Report.
Legislative Committee Randy Viens stated in some towns there is no misc. adjustment for condos. Sometimes we have to work around the software.
PV&R Director Douglas Farnham stated H&R Block did not do homestead’s. PV&R sent out newsletter but it only works with those agencies that “want” to talk to PVR. Next November PV&R will be launching upgrade to all systems. Ability to reach out will be much better as they progress.
Current Use Department sent out Landowner letter (see notice that went out to everyone enrolled in Current Use). Anyone signing up over the next year will get most of this information. Easy Out is pro-rated per acreage removed. VALA offered to work with PV&R on guidelines for Current Use. Keep in mind CLA when calculating CU.
Members asked if there was any way to highlight parcels that are updated/changed (in CU software) so that Listers do not have to go through the entire list each time.
It is a good idea when sending out early August mailings to property owners regarding owner issues to also send a copy to Listers to keep them notified.
President John Fike stated on July 20th at 6:30pm an on-site Tax Appeal Workshop will be sponsored by the Rockingham’s Town Clerk’s Office and the Listers’ Office. Workshop will be approximately 2 hours in length in the lower theater and will be presented by an attorney with VLCT. Cost is $15.00 per person made payable to the Town of Rockingham. Registration is necessary to ensure enough materials are available for everyone. Contact Kathleen Neathawk, Rockingham Town Clerk at 802-463-4336 X 103 for more information. Notice will be sent out on Comp 60.
Newsletter Editor Penny Allyn requested articles of interest be forwarded for the July Newsletter which will be coming out shortly.
Legislative Committee Randy Viens discussed needing to do fair market value on acres pulled out of Current Use in the Easy- Out Program. Easy-Out acreage has to be similarly valued as other acreage in GL for penalty purposes. Owners will pay taxes on fair market value. Need guidelines so it is consistent throughout the state. John Fike stated VALA will work very hard to have PV&R keep us informed and it would be helpful if examples were included.
President John Fike asked if everyone was using ecuse? Is paperwork coming in? There are just three people in current use department that are managing 18,000 parcels in CU. Maps for CU is being sent out once a week. Current Use Department is trying to set-up a common map program.
Asked if everyone had backed up before rolling over their grand list?
John Vickery discussed Mobile Home Park in Burlington that is very old. Depreciation curve rapidly declines as aging and then levels out. Values are all over the place. Parks are very difficult to value. Schedule built at time of reappraisal. Looked at age to build a linear curve line then based depreciation from that. Not all straight forward. Christie Wright enhanced mobile home schedule (obtain on web site). Tom Vickery also noted those buying new mobile homes valued at $70,000/$80,000 that once in park are devalued to $50,000. Dealers take trailers in trade. Look at deducting 30% or higher if inhabited 30 years or more. Mobile homes are not made to move—they are not travel trailers.
John Vickery discussed Excel Class to be held August 19th. Cost is $90.00 and is being taught by a certified IAAO instructor who developed course. If not familiar with Excel this is not the class to take. This is a really good one day class. There is also an IAAO Residential Modeling Course coming in August.
Michelle Wilson announced that she is an assessor in the Town of Hartford now. She mentioned getting sales equalization study sales records and follow up letters together for DA. John Fike stated the need to look at the equalization study and also look at all categories! Know what is happening in your town.
President John Fike again reminded members that VALA needs to be politically active with the Legislature. Members need to be involved and should not wait to be invited. Randy Viens is VALA’s Legislative Representative. This past year VALA has testified before the Legislature and it should be noted that what didn’t get passed was at times more important that what did get passed.
Motion was made and seconded to adjourn the General Meeting at 12:00 noon.
Meeting Minutes respectfully submitted by, Penny Allyn