November 2016 Meeting Minutes

November 2016 Meeting Minutes (click for pdf version)



November 2, 2016 at Randolph, VT

Call to order 9.06AM

Quorum count..good

Doug Farnham was asked to leave the room

Camilla Roberts asked everyone if VALA should consider writing a letter concerning Doug Farnham’s good work as Director of Property Valuation and Review for Vermont.

Feedback from county delegates.

  1. Dialog with VALA concerning thinking ahead
  2. DA is committed to meeting
  3. Resolving issues with Ed funding
  4. Responsive to concerns about state hearing office appeals
  5. Supporting training opportunities
  6. Very supportive of towns
  7. Understands current use and sales studies
  8. Made exceptional professional effort to come up to speed on knowledge of assessment
  9. Advancing technology
  10. No negative feedback – no official motion

Louise Ferris-Burt – Motion to accept May minutes

Tim Morrisey 2nds

All in favor unanimous

Val Almosnino – Motion to accept June minutes

Charles Mason 2nd

All in favor unanimous


  • Newsletter out Dec 1st
  • Website updated by Tod
  • Brochure, Tod waiting for updates to finish
  • County outreach – No specific except for electing delegates at annual meeting
  • Thanks to all county delegates, very important representation


Annual meeting: John Vickery

  • Survey handed out, results
  • Like Lake Morey, use microphone as hearing was a problem, have moderator repeat questions
  • Overall positive
  • Workshops went well, the mapping with Lesley and Chris’ workshop got a lot of positive responses
  • Next year’s Annual Meeting will be at Rutland September 22nd . Still deciding to move around or back and forth between Lake Morey and Rutland
  • Some discussion about folks coming and registering and paying the day of the event. Site host needs numbers for meal planning
  • Make attendees register early or pay more
  • Val, nightmare for registration, suggest deadline
  • Michelle Wilson, liked paying with membership renewal, means less planning
  • Val asks everyone: Please note change in address on registration form to clerk or bookkeepers
  • Final attendance 120
  • Val, speaking to what Louise said, the new renewal form that will appear in January will have the new address highlighted in Yellow. Will also have new form which he can hopefully email. Membership coordinator at
  • Add late registration fee
  • Send out email alerts, to alert treasurer to change update mailing address

Education committee

  • Michelle Wilson – chair Banner year, 3 more classes set up this year. Successful. Application problem as well. VALA is stretching and growing so we are going through a learning process. Stress filing out, send in and money can follow but the application needs to come as early as possible so we can confirm that people are enrolled. Fortunate that the last class had 20 more attendees than planned. Please preplan.
  • Hartford on 18th maximum of 20, need laptop and flash drive. Class by David. $100 covers materials.
  • Appeals class tomorrow in Westmore
  • Minimum need for class 15 to break even
  • By January will have annual calendar
  • Val, can you coordinate with PB&R to get the courses on their calendar that would be great. Put on January agenda

Equalization Committee moved to after break

Finance committee

  • Income report looks a bit different at this point and may change for future
  • Balances, deposits and reconciled bank statements if anyone wants to see them
  • Scholarships and Ed Funds are reported differently
  • Audit was completed and this report matches the audit properly– would like to see the budget page updated to also match the audited figures.

John Vickery  motion to accept Treasurer’s report

Alice seconded

No conversation

All in favor unanimous

  • Reimbursements for workshops/trainings- request receipts, Treasurer will not write checks without back up.
  • Coordinate with Michelle Wilson on reimbursements (from VP to treasurer (Joyce)
  • Audit – Robin Chapman – Completed. A few changes were necessary.

Legislative committee

  • Use value appraisal (current use) Committee (John Vickery)
  • Nothing going on now with elections coming up. Will email final agenda
  • Active legislative begins in January – summer committee was busy
  • Lister of the year – Janice Arnold award was great and fun. Plus there were a long list of nominees and think it speaks to the importance of a VALA award
  • Check the by-laws for Lister of the Year for which officers choose the recipient of the award. Include Past President John Fike.

Membership committee , Val Almosnino

  • Towns; 280 members, affiliates and elected officials
  • Please update treasurers with where funds should go.


New activities for VALA that might require more committees

  • Court case data base – how do you find out what court cases are crucial to your work. Could have links or some search help to help get the best cases.
  • John Vickery- hard to find cases if you don’t know the name. So, if you could search on subject rather than name
  • Debra Leahy, is a lawyer and it is not that hard to search. Willing to help with training on that.

John Vickery – would be nice to add the links to VALA site

  • Supreme court (Deb L) are the only ones published


  • Michelle Wilson– conversation about educational opportunities

Task force to set up this committee

  • Terri Gildersleeve– is there something at PVR? No, suggest a link as a time saver.
  • Tricky issue to interpret, from Johnson
  • Camilla Roberts – All those thinking we should have a committee put your hands up ¾ hands up Deb Leahy, Randy Viens, Pat French, John Vickery, Christy Wright, Cheryl Tudhope


Record retention – Todd note – does anyone want to put together a committee to work on that. Maybe just a link on website to the existing VSARA resource on this topic.

Appeal process committee; Over the past year there has been some feedback on state officer level appeals. Doug has made proposals on changing that process. Have been working on seeking information on changing the process.

Maura Carroll – VLCT

  • Appreciate that Doug and his team are open to a connection with local government and state.
  • Not a lot to report, Abby works on education issue. Have been planning and working on legislative committee.
  • How many were sent the tax policy page? Read the whole thing this week. It was informative and a lot of good resources. At VLCT where is this developed? Legislative committee during summer these issues are sorted. At annual meeting these policies are put to vote. This year wind policy was a big issue.
  • Get in touch in spring if you want to participate. The list of stuff is on website. Please share your expertise with us to help us develop policy.
  • Municipal action papers and municipal policy on website. Anyone wants to be on list serve just sign up on website with info at
  • Developing new website, launch by January with 50th anniversary logo

Equalization Study- Tom Vickery

  • Doug, Randy and Tom have been on this committee. Purposes of Act 246 want to see CLA on tax bill. They talked about it applying to tax rate. It is not applied to tax bill but will see examples of how this will show up on tax bill. And how it applies to the tax rate that the school board established and how that applies to tax rate, not value.
  • Act 46 school tax rate – how a union would merge – Faceton, Moretown, Waterberry, Duxberry (6 towns). Been a successful merger, different towns and the one CLA per merged district is difficult. 100 to 95 confidence level. Aggregate towns into the average. Does not mean that every town comes into that confidence level. As it changes you could go in and out of this level. We are not keen on doing it that way.
  • Towns should be appraised at the same time. All on same schedule. Creates CLA
  • Should be a choice not a mandate of towns. Common methodology will make CLA less volatile.
  • Will create more sales and less volatility


Doug Farnham- 3 recommendations from report – as long as in same district any number of towns can choose to merge.

Don’t see eye to eye on cost. Merged district can provide better support to offices. There are additional savings. We can’t promise savings in report

Looking at towns’ perception of volatility in CLA everything stays the same, board of assessment, etc., but is treated as one by CLA. Or they can choose to make a board of listers with rep from each town and overseen by assessor.

Nothing is mandatory, not making anything mandatory. Giving towns enabling recommendation if it makes sense for you

If you reappraise at the same time you can redefine. Instead of thinking about as Vermonters not as one town vs another town

Also looking at other ways We look at bottom and work up. We are looking at how to make it consistent. Seriously thinking about limiting the amount of change your town can have in one year. Try to smooth out assessment over years.

Discussion topics

  • Partial appraisals
  • Vacation/lake front separate
  • Condos
  • Merge would be a 5 year elections
  • Permanent if consolidation
  • Assessment districts only
  • Might be a good idea to make a model, it is drafted in report on website

Chris from NEMRC… Act 46 meeting last night in his home town which has already merged (Ludlow).

Towns need to know that this will be forced on them. The towns that have not merged are paying for the towns that have.

We need some follow up, perhaps more local area education to assist with helping people to make an informed decision

This is all just a recommendations from a study committee  it still has to go to legislature

Marylee Woods – tech coordinator for PVR. New electronic PTTR system

Has entered all info into system.

  • Department of taxes.
  • Lister and assessor accounts.
  • Welcome to
  • Go live December 7. Current system will not be accessible to listers, town clerks will still have access to old account.
  • Contact department to get set up. From initial account others can be set up.
  • Secure sign on required with security token
  • New features
  • This is currently for property transfer information
  • Tracking account is saved to your account (log ins, last log on, etc.)
  • Alerts – to messages
  • Will be able to look at other towns PTTRS with filters for town and address partial entry will result in..
  • Can view or print PTTR and history
  • Returns after December 7
  • Town clerks will be able to make edits and corrections, limited corrections will be seen by clerk and state only..
  • Going forward looking at putting the sales validations on system.
  • Mandated electronic if more than 5 PTTRS per year are received . Paper return optional.


  • Special factors high lighted
  • Working on special view
  • Lister responses will be done through byVtax accounts
  • Listers will be viewing in real time
  • Listers responses to homestead, plus notice of closed
  • Changes after roll out are possible. Cannot promise each concern can be addressed. Looking for suggestions to make future changes.
  • Will offer training opportunities, open to suggestions for training.


NEMRC – Chris Miele

  • Public information. NEMRC does not know if it is public information as long as you are not creating anything new.
  • Asking what CAMA info is going to real estate or banks. Chris said he could get this list.
  • Sending appraisal info only
  • Current Use – pending current use (4 properties) and when you print out your change of appraisal, they don’t print, even if you click on them. They do not show up on mailing list.
  • When pending it is not editable, so they don’t mark pending so listers can still make changes..
  • Advance CAMA class, grand list and webinars in a timely fashion.
  • Most current is reconciling your grand list.

Motion to adjourn meeting

Louise Ferris-Burt motion, Sue 2nd

Next meeting January 4, 2017

Meeting adjourned 12:04PM

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