Listers Office - Version 2011


Submitted a year ago
Created by
norwichobserver

The current division of labor between the Listers and the Contract Assessor, that the current Listers are recasting, did not occur by happenstance. The arrangement arose after study and followed the structure used by at least two municipalities in Vermont. Perhaps, the 2011 Lister Committee Report [link below] should be revisited, lest the Town fix something that is not broken.

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For earlier posts on the topic, see: Listers To Meet With Contract Assessor On New Contract and Contract Assessor Wants Out

Here's the background. On December 7, 2011, the Lister Committee, consisting of 9 residents appointed by the Selectboard, presented its final report to that Board. The Report was the product of several months work. According to the minutes of that meeting, the Lister Committee conducted 25 interviews with persons around the State "to gain a better understanding of how Norwich maintains its Grand List and organizes its Listers Office and how other towns do the same.” 

Among the recommendations were that:  A. The Town hire a Contract Assessor and B. Listers “only” develop policy and perform statutory duties. Report at 2-3. My understanding is that the Town, including past Boards of Listers, adopted those recommendations in maintaining the Grand List for several years. 

The Report also recommended that the Contract Assessor report to the Town Manager "as required by Vermont statutes". Report at 3. This statutory mandate noted by the 2011 Lister Committee is the polar opposite of the view of the current Board of Listers. Someone is wrong. In addition, according to the 2011 Report, two other municipalities in Vermont had similar structures in place.  Both Middlebury and Hartford had assessors that report to the Town Manager while also having a Board of Listers.  Report at Appendix 4. In those Towns, the Listers serve as a policy making board.

Over the last few months, the Selectboard discussed the Listers issue at least twice, and both times the Listers participated. I don’t recall the Hartford or Middlebury structures being mentioned. Before rejecting Listers Office Version 2011 as unworkable and in violation of statute, perhaps more homework is in order . 

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