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Vermont Towns Plan on Losing Listers

As assessing property gets more complicated some towns consider moving to an assessor trained in property valuation.

On the chopping block in Hinesburg on Town Meeting Day – the three town listers 

The person pushing the proposal is Marie Gardner, co-owner of Clifford Lumber and the only lister left in town. The other two positions are vacant.

“The work really needs to be done by somebody who has experience in appraising property,” Gardner said.

Gardner has that experience. She's been lister for 23 years and according to town administrator Joe Colangelo, has been more than satisfactory.

“Does a very good job,” Colengelo said.

“But our problem is looking toward the future when she no longer works for the town.”

Right now the lister is a part-time, volunteer, position. Colangelo says the plan is to lose the lister and appoint an assessor; a professional paid to appraise property.

For some listers keeping up with technology has been tough.

“Two decades ago, a decade ago the job was not nearly as complicated as it is now,” Colangelo said.

Add in the state tax codes for Act 68, current use, non-profit and solar projects and it’s even harder for listers.

“There's a lot of coordinating that we have to do with the state of Vermont to get this work done,” Gardner said.

And it's not just in Hinesburg where they hope to make this change. At town meetings in Milton, Mendon and Manchester they're voting on doing away with the lister and going full time to an assessor.

It was only last year state lawmakers passed a bill that allows towns to do away with the lister position. A decision Gardner sees clearly.

“I really would like the town to be in a good position to move forward once I am no longer available to assist in this position,” Gardner said.

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