Vermont Assessors & Listers Meeting
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 in Randolph Town Offices
Todd LeBlanc roll call of county delegates present. Said there are enough county delegates to have a meeting.
Minutes: March 16 meeting, motion to hold off till next meeting by Phyllis Hayward, 2nd by Val Almosnino, all in favor, motion carried.
Committee review: Todd indicated that the TOEC’s went well, turnout lower than normal around the state and that the TOEC’s are dying off. There are other educational opportunities on the VALA website.
Membership: There are 3 new towns and 3 renewals for VALA membership.
Lister of year nominations needs to get back to Todd by June 30 because it needs to be voted on at the July meeting.
Newsletter is out; Jerimiah is doing a good job. Wants photos, welcomes feedback.
Annual Meeting: Todd indicated we need vendors for the annual meeting.
County Outreach, keep up the good work.
Treasure’s report: next report will be at the July meeting.
Equalization Committee is meeting after this meeting.
Legislation: Randy veins indicated that most stuff is in misc tax bill and not much going on this year that affects Listers. Doug Lay indicated that the ANR bill will be finalized this year and how ANR lands will be valued and paid for. He indicated there will be a transition period with some winners and some losers. Will discuss more when Doug Farnham gets here.
15 minute break
PVR: Doug Farnham indicated legislative session was quiet. The Bill to give incentive to Current Use land owners who do not post their land got put off, there was not much traction, would have given a 5% reduction.
Hydro facility legislation just came out, municipalities will have to approve before state purchase. Trans Canada interested in splitting their portfolio. Louise asked about past statute on frozen values, are private hydro-electric dams impacted now. Doug Lay indicated no effect now on private hydro-electric dams. Camilla said the Windham Regional Commission is hosting workshop and talk about appeals and ramifications of State purchasing Trans Canada and impact on recreational area. Tom Vickery asked why we are giving rate payers a tax exemption. Doug Lay said hydro-electric dams are merchant generators, are based on valuation. Tom asked why exempt these commercial properties on the municipal and education Grand List. Camilla indicated there are discussions underway on the questions raised. Doug Lay indicated legislators have been supplied with revenues lost if this happens. He indicated that if this is done they want to make sure municipalities are fully protected and not harmed. Lots of issues still abound. Todd asked if there was a timeline. Doug Farnham indicated that PFR is out, and a consultant is being hired and will get back to them by August 1. JP Morgan is involved in progress and nobody knows where this goes.
Doug Farnham said misc. tax bill is out and concerning the hearing officer, has not been finalized yet. Inspections will be required if either party requests it. Listers education will have a $20,000 scholarship added to budget, $80,000 already in. Todd wants to make sure that if all of the money is not used we do not lose the $20,000.
Doug Farnham said that changing to a Hearing Board of Appeals still in talks, he said that cost is an issue and the legislature does not want it to cost anymore that it does now. Ed Clodfelter said it would cost more. Doug said it would be a challenge to keep at current cost if appeals go to Superior Court. Randy Veins asked what is in current budget for hearing officers. Doug Farnham said, not that much but does not have figures. Camilla said one of the key things is the inspection. Doug Farnham said he was surprised at how Janet Ancel wants taxpayer right to inspection.
Pat French asked about Residential 3 care homes. Doug Farnham said there was no movement.
Tom Vickery asked about preschool exemption.
Tim asked about Comp Serve questions raised about fire to property after April 1. Doug indicated that PVR would put something out on Comp serve on this issue. Todd indicated that April 1 is the date of valuation, no buts. We need to emphasize that what we do is cut and dry, there is the Board of Abatement for a reason. Val said we need to talk to Town Clerks, let them know April 1 is the assessment date. Chris Meile said you cannot use abatement for homestead penalty like a six gun shooter. Consequences to abatements, where are the minutes? Audit trails, etc. Camilla asked should we have a workshop on best practices to follow with the law. Doug Farnham talked about true up and the ed portion lost and timing of abatement. Abatement under control of town and state will not refund ed taxes lost. Tom asked that this be for appeals because going to court in 2-3 years is costly to towns. Doug Farnham said he is talking to Ways and Means Committee.
Todd asked about utilities being done by the state. Doug Lay said there is discussion. Doug Farnham is talking about a consistent way for towns to value utilities. Doug Lay said utilities are going to be done electronically in the future. Carol asked about the Handy Whitman Cost versus the Net Book. Doug Lay said the net book is out and give the state time to flush this out. Carol testified on Net book.
VLCT: Maura from VLTC could not come. She gave Todd email notes: courses are available on website. Town Fair looking at group seminar with VALA, Select board and Town Clerks. Town Fair will be in Essex this year. Lucrecia Wonsor, president of the Town Clerks Association present, and wants to have meeting with the Town Clerks in the future. Lucrecia talked about relationship with Town Clerks and Listers being very important and how her office in Killington works with Listers. Todd talked about how his office does PTTR’s. Todd said there was no Listers on the VLCT board and was working on that. Asked if there were any objections to having a Lister on that Board. No one objected.
NEMRC: Chris Meile said make sure to do Backups. Viruses are getting worse, getting ugly. If your 411 won’t print it is because there need to be corrections. Compare cash flow statement with 411. Be aware of contiguous parcels. Tax bills will be coming soon, clean up alerts, homesteads, etc. No major changes to upcoming software. Homestead penalties go away before April 19 this year.
Doug Farnham said this December will be replacing ePTTR, changes coming. Putting together a focus group and Todd wanted a Lister on board. Will be 4 focus group meetings before December. Will be going away from paper form and mandating attorneys use electronic PTTR.
Todd talked about dues for PVR. Camilla said it was tabled last meeting. Todd said when making a motion make it positive and talked about Roberts Rule of Order. PVR is paying for courses. Val made a motion to withdraw his motion from prior meeting. Chris indicated that it was not needed because of recommendations of cost of membership in older discussions prior. Todd will put something on the web site.
Motion to adjourn by Val, seconded by Randy Vein, all in favor, meeting adjourned at 11:35
Minutes by Tim Morrissey, Lamoille