LISTERS are unique to Vermont; the name came about because in the early days of the State, tax assessors were charged with the duty of “listing” all real and personal property owned by each landowner. In most states they are called assessors. Listers are elected officials who are responsible for the valuation of real property (real estate) and business personal property (equipment) in each town. There are three Listers and one is elected each year to serve a three year term. Pittsford also has a part-time Secretary who assists the Board of Listers. Their email address is: . Photo: L to R: Bob Harnish, Donna Wilson, Linda Trask (Secretary) and John Eugair
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICE
The primary responsibility of Listers is to appraise all real property in Town in compliance with applicable Vermont State statutes. This includes annual maintenance of the records such as updating changes resulting from additions to homes, construction of outbuildings, transfers of property, etc. as well as periodic revaluations when mandated by the State.
In addition, the Listers’ Office provides property owners with:
- Property record cards
- Assessment history information
- Detailed explanation of the assessment process
- Tax maps which are updated annually
If you have any concerns regarding your current assessment, general questions or suggestions, please feel free to call this office (802 483 6500 ext. 15). You may also visit our office located in the Town Office building at 426 Plains Rd. where Lister Cards and Tax Maps are available for review. Copies are available on request.
In Vermont, appeals of the valuation of a property are in the form of “grievance hearings” held with the Board of Listers. They typically start in the beginning of June, at least two weeks after notices of new property values are mailed to property owners. Only property owners with assessment changes receive these notices, though anyone can submit a Grievance Appeal. Other taxpayers who wish to appeal should contact this office by the end of May to request notification of the date hearings will begin and obtain the necessary paperwork.
You may grieve in one of three ways: in person; by authorizing a representative to appear for you; or by mail. In all cases you must contact our office for a grievance application form or you may download one by clicking here. Appointments should be made by the first day of grievance hearings and mailed grievances must be received by this date. That said, we will make every effort to “hear” grievances up to the last scheduled day of hearings. In any case, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in our office or at your property to review the information on your Lister Card and property valuation in general.
PLEASE NOTE: Lower market value of your property is not a basis for reducing your assessment. Your property is assessed in relation to all other properties in Town and in your neighborhood to maintain equity and fairness.
Pittsford Listers require an interior inspection of all properties under appeal. The Listers will arrange with the owner for an appointment to make this inspection. Without access to perform this interior inspection, the grievance will typically be denied. For vacant parcels of land, no inspection appointment is necessary unless the taxpayer wishes to accompany the Listers.
Grievance results will be mailed within two weeks after hearings are closed. This notice will contain information regarding the procedure for appealing the decision of the Listers to the Pittsford Board of Civil Authority. (The Board of Civil Authority is comprised of the Town Clerk, the Justices of the Peace and the Select Board.) Appeals beyond the local level go to either the Vermont Superior court or to the Director of Property Valuation and Review. Each level of appeal must be completed before the next can be scheduled.
THE TOTAL OF ALL PROPERTY AND BUSINESS EQUIPMENT
DETERMINES THE GRAND LIST
The total of these values comprised the Grand List. The Select Board uses the Grand List and the Town’s budget in a formula to determine the municipal tax rates necessary to raise sufficient funds to pay for town services and maintenance of town roadways. The school tax rate is determined by the State of Vermont using a complex formula including per-pupil spending in Pittsford. The Town’s Grand List has no impact on the education tax. The State formula and an explanation are included in the tax bill every year.
DATES TO REMEMBER
January 1 to April 15
All full-time residents should file HS 122 Homestead Declaration (found in VT tax booklet)
January 1 to April 20
Businesses file business personal property (equipment) form
January 1 to May 20
Period for veterans with 50% or more disability to apply for the veterans exemption
Last day for gaining resident status and lower tax rate by filing form HS 122, Homestead Declaration. A small penalty is assessed for filing after April 15.
Last day for submitting applications to the State for the Land Use Program
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Appraised Value – the estimated value of real estate as determined by a Lister before any adjustments are made to that value for taxing purposes
Category – All taxable properties in Vermont are classified into 15 categories based on their use. The goal is to group properties with similar uses together. For example, R1 refers to small acreage residential.
Class – There are three classes of property that are formed by the aggregation of the 15 categories into like-use groups. They are residential, commercial/industrial and open land.
Coefficient of Dispersion (COD) – The coefficient of dispersion is a measure of uniformity of assessments for all properties on the grand list. For example, if a town has valued every single property at 100% of fair market value, then there is zero dispersion, hence 0.00% COD. Similarly, if each and every property is assessed at 80% of fair market value there is also zero dispersion. If the town average assessment to sales ratio is 80% but individual assessments vary either above or below the average then this disparity of assessments will reflect in a COD greater than 0%. Because of fluctuations in the market and because properties are constantly being improved or changed a perfect score is impossible. A COD lower than 10 is unusual.
Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) – The CLA is essentially a measure of how close a town or city’s local assessments are to fair market value. Vermont municipalities will be required to re-assess when the CLA falls below 80%
Current Use – Also known as use value appraisal is the value of property for a specific use as opposed to the “highest and best use”. Qualifying farm and forest land and farm buildings may enroll in Vermont’s use value appraisal program. Enrolled land and buildings are required to be assessed at their current use. The Current Use Advisory Board sets the use values for farm and forest land annually.
Grand List – The local Grand List is the assessed value of all real estate in a town used to raise municipal taxes. Taxes are based on 1% of the listed value as established by the local assessing officials.
Homestead – Homestead is the principal dwelling owned and occupied by a Vermont resident as the individual’s domicile. A homestead includes the entire parcel of land surrounding the dwelling.
Housesite – A housesite is that portion of a homestead that includes the principal dwelling as a home but is not more than two acres per dwelling unit.
Parcel – A parcel is defined as all contiguous land in the same ownership together with all improvements.
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