Three of the leading municipal associations in the state – the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT), the Vermont Assessors and Listers Association (VALA), and the Vermont Municipal Clerks’ and Treasurers’ Association (VMCTA) – wrote to the Vermont Department of Taxes (TAX) and members of the Vermont Legislature requesting changes to a law requiring TAX to create an “implementation plan” to the legislature next year that would drastically change the way Vermonters’ properties are valued and taxed. Act 68 of 2023 makes various amendments to law that significantly alter the municipal property appraisal and assessment process. Included in this law is direction to the Division of Property Valuation and Review (PVR) to conduct an “implementation proposal” to create a new statewide reappraisal process due next year. In addition, the law calls for a progress report on TAX’s work this year, including:
- preliminary schedules to phase in full reappraisals for each municipality every six years;
- a study of existing municipal data metrics that could be used to differentiate property types and characteristics including use, occupancy, and square footage;
- options for and implementation of implicit bias reduction training for listers and assessors; and
- recommendations for changing the annual date by which grand lists must be lodged with the department from April 1 to January 1 or another date.
VLCT, VALA and VMCTA asked TAX and the Vermont Legislature to make the following changes to Act 68 at the beginning of the legislative session in hopes of increasing municipal involvement in the Tax Department’s 2024 planning and recommendations:
- Empower municipal officials and others with appraisal expertise to shape the recommendation that the Tax Department is legislatively required to make back to the Legislature;
- Include alternatives to the “statewide system to conduct reappraisals . . . administered by the state” in the plan submitted to the Legislature; and
- Conduct a cost benefit analysis of all systems recommended compared to our existing system.