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Hi all-  It would be nice to "have our cake and eat it too", but it seems unreasonable to keep ALL of the revenue without actually doing the recording.  Perhaps we need to assess the actual costs of recording a page, including books, paper, LABOR, vault space and mailing recorded documents back out.  These costs could then be deducted from the $6.00 recording fee to arrive at a new fee.  We could still assess the $1.00 per page restoration fee on the original mortgage pages as restoration is a valid public goal .  This might be a good compromise, and we all know that compromise is the name of the game in politics.  Any thoughts??  Missy in Hinesburg
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">John Cushing
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 3:00 PM
Subject: IMPORTANT NOTICE

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