John, I've tried to take my time looking over these reports and I am
sometimes leery of putting down my thoughts because I know that I still have
alot to learn. That being said, here are my thoughts on these bills.
H.31 Short form - I also like the idea of the shortened mortgages and am
aware of the cost savings regarding vault space. My thoughts on the fees
associated with the shortened mortgage is this: $90 for all mortgages under
6 pages (not including riders)
$7.00 per page for all riders
$7.00 per page over the 6 page (once again without riders)
With the typical mortgage running 16-18 pages without riders, the fee
collected would be $112-$126 for that mortgage. Does losing that approx
$22 - $36 per mortgage add up? Yes, but not as much as the savings when you
look to the future costs of vault space.
Summer study of municipal land records - If I am correct this is the one
that started as a result of last years bill for digitizing the land records.
I am still for allowing clerks to choose whether or not they wish to
digitize their records. The biggest obstacle is still the fee issue. When
you talk about the long term managerial issues - I am confused? What are
they considering? I would be willing and able to come on Feb 4th or 5th at
H.549 General indices - part of our digitization bill? Once again, it only
gives the ability to use the computer vs. cards for those who wish to
maintain them. I am interested in the ability to do so, but will also
continue to produce the index cards until I feel comfortable with the system
and people researching feel comfortable with the system.
S.200 - Town Treasurer - why would the senate consider this? Why would the
town want this? Have there been problems in the past? I understand that
towns have to protect themselves against poor treasurers, but does the new
"treasurer" have loyalty and passion for protecting the towns funds by
questioning expenditures? My position is if it ain't broke - don't fix it.
At the meeting last night we talked a little about surveying all clerks and
treasurers to see their feelings about all of the various bills. Is this
something that we would like to do? Should we contact Sandy to see if the
VMCTA would pay the postage and if they have a data base of all clerks (not
just those registered). I would be willing to work on this, but not alone.
Thanks for the heads up.
From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Paulette Lafond
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: FW: Legislation
From: John Cushing
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:34 AM
To: Paulette Lafond
Subject: FW: Legislation
From: John Cushing
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 9:45 AM
To: MUNINET ([log in to unmask])
The Legislative Committee is tracking approximately 20 bills that have
been introduced in the House and Senate at this time.
The House Local Government Committee is currently taking testimony on
H31 - Short Form Mortgage. It is my belief that they intend to act on
this and send it out of the committee. I have been asked to get input
from the clerks on how you feel we should charge for the short form
mortgage. I believe that a template or master mortgage would be recorded
once and then a short form that would refer to this template or master
would be used after. Some examples of fees might be:
Flat fee for the master and a flat fee for the short form.
Flat fee no matter how many pages.
Flat fee or percentage based on the amount of the mortgage.
Flat fee for mortgage and a per page fee for the short form.
I need to know your input on this so that I can report back to the
committee. Many states are now charging a flat fee or document fee.
One suggestion that I have is an $80 flat fee for any mortgage deed up
to 6 pages and $7 per page for any additional page. If you receive a 1
page short form mortgage you would collect $80.00. If they still wish to
file a 16 page mortgage than you would receive $150.00. My reasoning for
this suggestion is that it would be to their advantage to file a short
form mortgage which I believe we agree is also to our advantage as well.
I suspect that because of this we will no longer see 16 and 18 page
mortgages. By going to a flat rate fee of $80 there would be an
additional source of revenue to help offset some of the revenue lost by
no longer filing the long form mortgage. I hope that you understand this
is only a suggestion, I need to hear from you and your representatives
need to hear from you but we need to come to some consensus on this
The second largest issue in the Local Government Committee is the Summer
Study Committee's report on the creation of a Municipal Land Records
Commission. I believe that the Local Government Committee will be trying
to get this out early February and it appears that we have good support
with this committee. The purpose of this Bill will be to establish the
Vermont Land Record's Commission to study and submit by January 15, 2006
a report addressing long term managerial issues associated with the land
records. This commission would stay in affect until 2010 - hopefully,
long enough to implement what the General Assembly will adopt once the
report is submitted. Local Government would like to hold a Public
Hearing and have inquired as to the best time for Clerks to participate
- 4th or 5th of February morning 10:00 am - 12:00 pm or afternoon 3:00
pm - 5:00 pm.
Other bills of interest in the House include H547 - this bill proposes
to exempt from public disclosure social security numbers and other
governmental assigned personal identification numbers. H549 - this bill
proposes town clerks to keep general indices in an approved electronic
or digital format. H524 - this bill proposes to replace the word
'photocopy' with the word 'copy' and extend the Restoration Fund to
For Treasurers - H540 - this bill proposes to make technical amendments
to the education finace laws necessary for implementation -- you should
read it because it will definitely affect the Treasurer's Office. Senate
Bill 200 - this bill proposes to authorize a town to eliminate the
office of town treasurer and in lieu thereof to appoint a qualified
individual, partnership, firm or corporation to perform the duties of
the town treasurer.
In closing, the Legislative Committee needs your input. It is very
difficult to represent your feelings unless we know your feelings. If
you are not comfortable with putting them out on Muninet, please send to
me directly at [log in to unmask]
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> or call me at 893-4111. John