Presidents Message

President’s Message October 2020

Greetings all,

In preparing for our November meeting, I felt it useful to frame our discussion at the November meeting.

To start, I’d like to cite the following stated goals from my message from the 2020 Annual Conference. I
have also linked that message to the VALA website and the minutes should be posted soon.

“One of my goals this year as VALA president was to maintain the history of VALA while at the same time broaden the membership to embrace the changes in our field from Listers to Assessors in many cases.

A second goal was to continue the educational offerings and offer more informal education and discussion among our members as professional peers. “

Tom Vickery did a wonderful job with the webinar held on October 16th , with excellent assistance from John Vickery.

I think Tom met his goal of the conversation starter of this webinar as I heard many substantive questions asked during the Q&A.

We didn’t get to all of the questions and we would like to continue the discussion at our next meeting.

In the interest of that goal and in focus for our discussion, I am submitting to the VALA website several case studies in how we might apply issues of contiguous parcels and HBU. I am not giving my recommendations on these case studies, but would like to leave them open for all of you to consider and bring meaningful discussion to the November meeting. If any of you have other case studies along these lines, please submit them as well by e-mailing them to me.

Engaging in this discussion requires a solid understanding of highest and best use. HBU is a concept I use daily in my work. I include a statement about HBU analysis in every report I write, and include a similar statement in any defense of a tax assessment at appeal.

I strongly recommend taking IAAO 158 as education for this concept. There are other excellent course offerings through Appraisal Institute and others as well as self-study and reading you can undertake to further your understanding.

I would like to clarify two important points about the webinar and VALA discussions as opposed to IAAO or other course work.

First, Tom’s webinar was not intended to give you “cookie cutter” answers to these situations, but rather to present issues Tom has seen in his practice and to put forward for discussion these issues as well as previous VALA discussions about this issue.

Secondly, please remember that VALA does not make legislative decisions nor does PVR. We all should be part of the conversation around changes to legislation related to assessment, and we all need to work collaboratively
and respectfully to be effective in these discussions.

Finally, any VALA positions on recommendations regarding any legislative changes will be made and will only move forward to any discussions with legislators with VALA consensus.

I look forward to continued informed discussions with all of you.

Lisa Wright
President, VALA


VALA Mission Statement
Vermont Assessors and Listers Association’s mission is to advocate for the recognition of Listers and Assessors as qualified property valuation authorities throughout Vermont.

VALA Vision Statement
Vermont Assessors and Listers Association’s vision is to continue the advancement of fair and equitable property assessment standards through continuing education and member support for all property valuation professionals, in conjunction with advocating for fair and equitable taxation practices as it relates to property assessment.