VALA Bi-Monthly General Meeting
Minutes for November 4th 2015
President Tod Leblanc opened the General Meeting at 10:30 am. with the introduction of the new board members:
TODD LEBLANC– President
CAMILLA ROBERTS– Vice President
ROBERT VICKERY– Treasurer
TAMSIN COON– Secretary
JOHN FIKE– Most recent Past President
*** PLEASE…. if you have changed your email address contact Todd Leblanc. ***
PV&R director Douglas Farnham spoke of the following:
. The new Lister Education Co-coordinator will be Mary Lee Woods.
. The majority of all towns have signed up for class reimbursement.
. Just send in your receipts/invoices to PV&R to sign up.
. They will also have funding for scholarships and classes.
. PV&R would like VALA to be involved with all education discussions.
. Tanya is the new Project Manager for IT and communication for NEMRC and will be the new liaison. PV&R will still be going to the District Attorneys with questions because they are the experts.
Douglas spoke about the 3 Audits a year for Current Use properties only. If the audits are 10% or lower, the PV&R will lower the values on the properties. They will not raise the values if they are higher. PV&R will leave it to the towns and give them the information to change the values.
(Sterns Allen does all the Current Use Parcels)
Todd LeBlanc spoke to Doug Lay about the District Advisors coming to more VALA meetings.
PV&R will come up with a Study Committee to come up with a standardized way of dealing with Land Leases/Camps.
Land Leases are not done the same way as CHT’s.
There was a big discussion on hearing officers at the Annual Meeting. Douglas Farnham would like to have a group discussion on all of the issues. He will not tolerate offensive behavior of the hearing officers.
Tax Bill Penalties-
Listers need to speak with NEMRC about communication when a new owner files late and the past owners get the penalties on properties sold after April 1st.
Certification Process for Land Use-
PV&R pulled out and sampled properties in the Current Use program to see if they were using the land properly. They will continue to let us know what is going on with the current use so there is no more confusion.
How PV&R chooses the properties for the audits
. If the Fair Market Value (FMV) of an agricultural building is not easy to see the size or use.
. If the land value changes 10% or more and they cannot determine why.
. If it just looks sketchy!
Current Use Allocation Changes-
Doug Lay and Christy Wright spoke on all of the confusion on how to do the allocation changes. They presented a chart on how to do this step by step. (see chart attached).
Elizabeth Hunt is swamped in Current Use so Montpelier has hired some temp. help to help her with the Easy Out process, so please be patient.
The penalties on these properties are on the newly excluded piece of land not the total excluded.
***The 2016 Grand List will have changes***
PV&R will help to get the word out on how to do all of this so the state will be consistent on how Current Use, excluding land, is done.
VLCT Executive Director Maura Carol and Abby Freidman came to the meeting to talk about what’s going on state wide.
February 10th is the Local Government Day. VLCT is delighted to have VALA there!
Town Fair in Killington had 510 attendees, and spoke about more training for VALA/Listers. She would love to have discussions on how the VLCT can help get more education for us.
Gwyn Zacoff has been hired as the new VLCT advocate. (VLCT news is now on the VLCT website)
Chris Meile of NEMRC was asked if we should share our Grand Lists with the Warren Group. His response was “ WHY NOT!” its public information and how we disperse it is up to our towns.
BACK UP YOUR DATA!!!!!!!
Watch for ransom virus software. This is when your computer is subject to a virus and the person who sent it to you takes information from your computer and for a price will give it back. If you have an e-mail that, looks sketchy, or is from your town, but isn’t recognized by you or your colleagues …. DON’T OPEN IT! Call and have it checked before you open it, it may have a virus.
There’s is a GL Seminar for new Listers. An e-mail will be sent out with the information.
There will be CAMA classes coming in December. Check the NEMRC website or call Chris Meile for information on the classes.
Chris will help with freezing the CAMA files if you need him to. DON’T attempt it yourself! It’s a touchy process. It’s a big project and he is working on making it user friendly.
Chelsea Listers Phyllis Howard, Ed Kuban and Warren Lathrop each received a gift of maple syrup for being the first town to sign up as VALA members this year! Congratulations!
Todd is looking to create several new committees:
. Website Committee
. News Letter Committee
The survey from the Annual Meeting will be discussed at the next VALA meeting.
Pawlet Lister Charles Mason received the “Lister of the Year” Award! Congratulations! You deserve it!
Todd spoke about shortening the Directors and General meeting to cut back on time and repetition.
The State Tax website has been revamped. If you have any questions about the site, contact Todd he will help you.
Meeting was adjourned at 12:05 pm.
Minutes prepared by Tamsin Coon