Hi all,


Trevor Lewis suggested I send along to y’all the note I sent him this morning.



Mary Jane Grace, Program Technician

Property Valuation and Review Division

Vermont Dept. of Taxes







From: Grace, Mary Jane [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 7:56 AM
To: Lewis, Trevor
Cc: Wilson, Michelle
Subject: RE: VMCTA record retention follow up- standards on abstract of Grand List




I’ve offered the advice below in the past.  Maybe this material could be of help in your discussion on records retention and the grand list. 


The terms below can be confusing and if used incorrectly can lead to some misunderstandings.


Abstract of individual lists (aka “the abstract”) – This is the book that is lodged by the board of listers with the town clerk on the day the notices of change of appraisal are mailed. It’s sometimes called the preliminary grand list.   It’s due to be lodged on or before June 4 in smaller towns—June 24 in larger towns.  See 32 V.S.A. 4111 and 32 V.S.A. 4341.  


Grand List – this is the book that is lodged with the town clerk after all grievances have been heard and decided.  See 32 V.S.A. 4151 and 32 V.S.A. 4341.


Abstract of the Grand List (aka the 411 form) – This is the signed summary of the grand list that is lodged with the Division of Property Valuation and Review---the 411 form.  An electronic version of that data is also required to be sent to PVR.  See 32 V.S.A. 5404 .   


When these statutes were written, computers and printers weren’t in use in town offices.  The abstract of individual lists morphed into the grand list book.   The abstract was hand-written and any changes made to it through grievances were made by writing the changes onto the book and initialing the changes or by attaching a form attesting or certifying to those changes.  When the grievances were all done and all changes were made, the listers then attached a certificate stating so and the town clerk signed and attached a form attesting to receipt of same.  At that point, the book became the grand list book. 


Now, because town offices have computers and printers and the data bases that produce these reports can be modified and reports re-printed at will, there is a tendency to think of the abstract and the grand list as two different documents.  When all changes are made many boards of listers want a clean book printed to go in the vault.  That’s ok, but keep in mind that the official grand list book that is a permanent record must contain the original abstract information and any changes that were made in that abstract and the documentation for those changes. 


The most important thing is to be sure that the public can follow your actions on assessment from the lodging of the abstract on the day notices of change of appraisal are mailed to the signing of the certificate that is attached to the grand list at the close of grievance. At that time, the responsibility for changes to the grand list book shifts to the town clerk.  The book is in her/his hands from that point forward.    



Mary Jane Grace, Program Technician

Property Valuation and Review Division

Vermont Dept. of Taxes







From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lewis, Trevor
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 4:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: VMCTA record retention follow up- standards on abstract of Grand List


Thanks to all who attended this morning’s session on Record Retention at the VMCTA Annual Meeting in Killington, and who contributed to lively discussions!


It’s always great to get a sense of what issues are arising and of greatest concern.


One of the issues on which specific follow up was requested was “grand list abstracts.”


The various records associated with appraisal and assessment of property taxes are an area on which there is not yet a new Record Schedule (there will at some point be one), so whatever standards are available (such as they are) will be found in whatever prior Disposition Order (D.O.s) may speak to particular records.


Here (below) are links to the D.O.s that I am aware of that include records associated with the Grand List. 


Only the actual records custodian (and please note the applicable custodian to which each D.O. was issued) has the authority to interpret a given D.O., and since custodian roles (i.e. combined Clerk-Treasurer vs. separate Clerk and Treasurer… as well as other separate custodians such as Listers) can vary widely between different municipalities, that should be considered in relation to each Municipality’s own structuring of local roles/ custodianship of particular records:










Feel free to contact me/ VSARA if we can be of further help- and can someone who is on the Clerk-Treasurer Specific Listserv (to which I cannot post, since I am not a Clerk) please forward/ share this message there?  Thanks


Trevor Lewis

Records Analyst &

Local Records Program Coordinator

Vermont State Archives & Records Administration

1078 U.S. Route 2, Middlesex

Montpelier, VT 05633-7701

802-828-1005 (tel.) | 802-828-3710 (fax)

802-828-3700 (main switchboard)

[log in to unmask] 


“Records management is like elevator maintenance.

It's not noticed until it's gone, or something goes wrong.” (unknown)

"Information management policies are not a dark or novel art" Hon. David Nuffer, U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of Utah, 2009