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IMPORTANT NOTICE TO BE ACTED ON IMMEDIATELY**********
 
House Bill 31 – is now in the Government Operations Committee and
testimony was heard this week. For those of you who do not know – H31 is
the ‘short form mortgage’. 
 
This bill is being looked at as a reduction in vault space and I cannot
deny that it will reduce the number of volumes being recorded. 
HOWEVER------the issue that I continue to try to understand is the loss
of revenue to the municipality. 
 
In Milton’s case alone – this is a tremendous loss of revenue and
proportionately to smaller municipalities I suspect that it would be
equally an issue as well. I determined this information by performing
the following task – something that you need to do in your own
municipality. I took a land record volume at random from the 23 volumes
created in calendar year 2002. I determined that there were 39
mortgages. I counted the pages of the mortgages and reduced them to one
page which would have reduced the number of pages in the volume by 537
and a loss of revenue in the amount of $3,759.00 from this volume alone
using the $7.00 per page method - $4,296.00 using the $8.00 (proposed
legislation) per page.
 
If this were an average volume, the $3,759 x 23 (volumes recorded in
2002) I would have reduced my revenue by $86,457.00.  
 
Word now has it from Montpelier that the proposal may be a document fee
of $50.00 for the short term which would reduced my loss of revenue to
$46,207.00 – this is about one-third of the total revenue generated in
the year 2002. I am not on fees, but this represents almost one cent on
our tax rate. I can admit that it will reduce the vault space BUT I
believe that this will place a financial burden on each and every town
in the State of Vermont. Each and every one of you need to do this
exercise and begin to be heard. 
 
There are over 250 clerks in this State. I have heard from very few of
you so I am still not sure what direction you would like to see the
Legislative Committee proceed. Not only do I need to hear from you, but
you need to contact your legislators, select boards, town managers,
administrative assistants – this affects the municipality as a whole.
The ironic part of this issue is that the dollar increase per page – if
granted by the new legislation – will still end with a net reduction in
revenue using the 2002 recording statistics. 
 
I BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO PROPOSE THAT THE SHORT FORM BE USED BUT THE
DOCUMENT FEE WILL BE EQUAL TO THE $7.00 OR $8.00 PER PAGE TIMES THE
NUMBER OF PAGES THAT THE SHORT FORM DEED REFERS TO. THIS ACCOMPALISHES
TWO FOLD --- REDUCES THE VOLUME OF PAPER BEING RECORDED AND GENERATES
THE REVENUE NEEDED TO IMPROVE VAULT SPACE AND MAINTAIN THE RECORDS. IT
IS BEING PAID FOR BY THE PERSON(S) FILING THE DOCUMENT. THE RECORDING
FEES ARE A VERY SMALL PORTION OF THE CLOSING COSTS. SOMEONE BORROWING
$100,000.00, I BELIEVE, WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY THE $105 - $120 FOR A
15-PAGE MORTGAGE IF THEY KNEW THAT THEIR RECORDS WERE GOING TO BE
PROPERLY MAINTAINED. THE TOWN’S FINANCES ARE JUST AS CRITICAL AS THE
STATE’S.                   John