Hi Heidi - if your town is a member of the Vermont League of Cities and
Towns, you might want to give Jim Barlow a call or send him an email with
questions at [log in to unmask] Jim teaches training seminars in Abatement
and has been an invaluable resource to me during the abatements resulting
from Irene. Abatements are a peculiar thing and your board is given full
discretion by the statutes. But there are some things to consider, first
the statutory categories under which an abatement may qualify. Second, your
board has the ability to request information such as the property owner's
tax returns and what insurance payments they may have received, etc. In the
case of destruction by fire, if the owner plans to rebuild, the listers will
probably devalue the property as of April 1 for the coming tax year and many
times the property is 100% restored within that year. So effectively, there
may be an appropriate tax reduction given. Remember, it is not the Board of
Abatement's responsibility to determine value, only to determine if an
abatement is appropriate for the current tax year. You may hear in
testimony what the property owner believes the value to be after a fire, but
it's the Listers job to adjust the assessed value as of April 1. Good luck
From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Heidi Racht
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 7:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Since I have been Town Clerk, we have not had an abatement. This month, we
had a house burn down and now two residents have come forth to ask for an
abatement hearing. I seem to remember that when Olga was clerk, she proposed
the abatement for the house fire... One of the requests is from someone who
did subdivision with permits, but hasn't sold the property - she was
shocked when the value went way up and now has found out that the new state
deer wintering map covers her project (when she went through subdivision,
the dwh - aka deer yard - was no where near her property and she met all the
setbacks). The listers have been clear that this was not their error and it
seems that there is no category by which her appeal can be heard.
I read the statute and, maybe I'm just exhausted from all the dog
registrations this week, can't seem to figure out how to go about this.
It's probably there somewhere, but you know how it is when you have to do
something new and a mild panic about making sure it's right sets in.
I would appreciate someone turning me and pointing me in the right direction
- like, how to get started.
On another topic, we are having a rabies clinic tomorrow at our fire house,
1-3 pm, so if anyone calls your office today and want a lovely drive to
Anyway, it looks like a beautiful, cold day! The sun is out.