Should Norwich Get Rid of Its Listers?
Should Norwich get rid of the town's listers, the quasi-volunteer group of citizens that officiates over the town's Grand List —the document that lists the total value of town property on which tax bills are calculated? The job is shared, currently, by a professional assessor and the listers. In recent months there has been acrimony between the two. The listers want more say in the process and access to the assessing software. The assessor firm doesn't agree and wants to be released from its contract with the town.
The town had hoped the listers and the assessor could work out an arrangement to keep the current system in place.
Selectboard members John Langhus and Stephen Flanders have re-opened the door for another option — Get rid of the listers.
In a memo to the Board dated 12/28 the pair “recommend that the Selectboard ask the voters in March 2018 to approve an assessor-only model per 17 V.S.A. g 2651c.”
The pair justifies their proposal saying it:
*Offers the option for professional expertise in property valuation and the appeals process, augmented by citizen participation in appeals by the Board of Civil Authority.
*“Validates the effectiveness of professional assessors in contrast to the past record of a listers-only model.” (Back when Norwich had only listers the town was on the losing side of multiple lawsuits.
*“Eliminates the potential for friction between the board of listers and assessors." (Which is the current situation.)