Thank you, John, for this level-headed analysis and your kind recommendations.  Nora
----- 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 30, 2009 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: Bill S.19 "extending deadline date of homesteads"

The background as I understand S.19 was due to a couple of elderly people not receiving a Homestead due to an out-of-state person trying to help them file their HS-122. The Town Clerk was trying to help them out as well as others that may have been in the same boat because in this particular town the tax bills were not mailed until after the Sept. 1st deadline. The Senators who introduced it were sensitive to the issue and listened to that Town Clerk and they were trying to fix this issue by introducing this bill. Hooray for the Town Clerk for trying to find a solution to the problem and Hooray for the Senators who introduced it when asked for help by the Town Clerk.
The 2 points that I am trying to make are that we do not always understand the background on some of the bills that get introduced in the legislature and a very small percentage of these bills that are introduced ever become law. The Legislative Committee that is appointed by the Clerks and Treasurers Association works extremely hard to try to track and when appropriate to testify on new legislation. I would like to suggest that if we see a Bill that we do not agree with, that you please refer comments directly to the Chair of the Legislative Committee, Karen Richard of Colchester ([log in to unmask]) or Alison Kaiser ([log in to unmask]) through their email. They would be glad to hear from anyone about any legislation issue that you may have. 
The fact is, while this discussion was going on through Muninet, Karen and I were sitting in the Government Operations Committee in the House of Representatives talking about the HS-122 and the difficulty that we as, treasurers, are having in complying with the requirements of the collection of the education funds. The Legislative Committee is very well versed on the issues affecting clerks and treasurers that are before the legislature - the introduced bills are read daily by at least 3 different clerks and treasurers. We are in the beginning part of this session and a great deal of discussion will need to be taken and I assure you that the Legislative Committee will do everything it can to get the information to the representatives and senators. Speak to your representatives and senators and make the legislative committee aware of what you have told them -- we need to be on the same page - and that is very difficult in Vermont as there are 247 towns and very few of us perform our duties in the same manner.
I, for one, do not intend to censor any comments made on the Muninet. However, I have had several people confront me about comments being made on this list serve that fellow clerks and treasurers felt were inappropriate. There is no one who can get more emotional about municipal issues than myself, but I have had to wait a couple of days before making my comments so as not to let my anger about an issue and say things that I might regret later. It might be better to not direct our comments at any particular person or persons when responding to an issue.
In closing, please stay in touch with Karen and Alison. We need your support more than ever this year if we are going to change some of the legislation that is before the House and Senate. Thank you and have a great weekend.
John P. Cushing
Town Clerk & Treasurer
Town of Milton
PO Box 18
Milton, VT 05468
(802) 893-4111
Email: [log in to unmask]
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----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Roberta Dana
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 10:33 AM
Subject: Bill S.19 "extending deadline date of homesteads"

In the legislative report from VLCT dated 1/23/09 there is a bill (S.19) being considered in the Senate Finance that
"Would extend the filing deadline for homestead declarations and property tax adjustments from September 1 to 21 days after the postmark date on the tax bill.  Would extend the deadline for property tax adjustment claims from September 1 to 60 days after the postmark on the tax bill."
I don't know about all the other towns but in Groton, we do NOT have a postmark date on OUR TAX BILLS.  The envelope would have a postmark date but we DO NOT accept postmarks as timely payment so why do this to us?
Does anyone have any idea what the idiotic purpose of this bill is other than to make the whole process MORE confusing and MORE work for tax collectors?  Legislators, you need to come and process this work in the town offices and see how you like it.  Don't you have anything more serious to work on in Montpelier?
Let's make people take responsibility for their own actions and if you are supposed to file your homestead declaration by April 15th then if you file it on April 16th IT IS LATE, NO HOMESTEAD, DEAL WITH IT!
I don't see the IRS giving all these "late" options to anyone other than the normal 3 month extension which does not eliminate interest, etc.
Roberta Dana
Town Treasurer & Tax Collector
Groton, VT
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