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A Message From the Assessor's Office
Po Box 428
West Dover, VT 05356
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9-3
Tuesday & Thursday by chance
Town Assessor: Linda Sherman
On March 1, 2016 the Town of Dover voted to dissolve the Board of Listers and go with an appointed Assessor. The Town Assessor has all of the same powers, discharges the same duties, proceeds in the discharge thereof in the same manner, and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed for Listers or the Board of Listers under the provision of Title 32.
Responsibilities of the Assessor
The Assessor is responsible for the preparation and overall maintenance of the Grand List, a comprehensive list of every property in Dover, ensuring it is as accurate and equitable as possible.
The valuation year is from April 1st to March 31st of any given year. Thus the owner and condition of the property is effective as of April 1st.
The Assessor is responsible for appraising all real property in Dover in compliance with applicable Vermont State Statues. The duties also include updating changes to property cards resulting from building permits, address changes, work with tax maps and maintaining the State’s Current Use program. The Assessor’s Office typically perform exterior inspections of new and existing structures. Whenever possible, an interior inspection is done to keep records up to date, and values current.
It is important to understand that one or two low or high sales are not enough to justify changes to an entire property class or neighborhood. Assessments typically are on “median” values for any group of properties, or that value which falls in the middle, over a three-year period. This lessens the influence of extreme high and low sale prices. There must be a clear and consistent trend in order to make market adjustments up or down.
Education Property Tax
In 1997 Vermont’s Supreme Court ruled that education is the state’s responsibility. It said the state has a responsibility under the constitution to provide “substantially equal access” to a quality basic education to all Vermont students, regardless of where in Vermont they may live. This led to the
passage of Vermont’s Equal Education Opportunity Act providing for a statewide education property tax. This act now includes a property tax adjustment provision relating to primary residents.
Common Level of Appraisal/Equalized Education Property Value
The Common Level of Appraisal has become a very important component since the passage of the education funding Acts 60/68 in calculating and equalizing education taxes statewide. The purpose: to ensure that properties of equal value pay equal taxes. There are over 250 taxing jurisdictions in the state, so there is some divergence in the assessment levels of the various jurisdictions. Property Valuation and Review (PV & R), a division of the Vermont Department of Taxes, perform equalization studies to eliminate the divergence prior to determining education tax rates.
PV&R takes the following steps to estimate a town’s equalized value: collects sales data for a three-year period; 2016 will be based on sales from 4-1-2013 thru 3-31-2016
- Eliminate sales that do not represent market value
- Stratifies the remaining sales by Grand List categories
- Calculates listed-value-to-sales price ratios for all market sales
- Determines equalization ratios that represent reliable estimates of the divergence from 100% of fair market value, applies the resulting ratios to the Grand List value for appropriate categories and sums the resulting values
The total, with adjustments for local agreements and current use appraisal, is the equalized education property value for the town. The Common Level of Appraisal for 2016 is 104.21% for the Town of Dover.
Appeals and Grievances
As a property owner in the Town of Dover you reserve the right to appeal or “grieve” the assessed value of your property. If you wish to file for a grievance hearing, you need to do so in writing. Please include your name, parcel id# (if you know it) and the address of the property. If possible, please include reasons as to why you feel the current assessment is incorrect. Grievance hearings are held usually during the first week in June. You will be notified as to the dates and times of grievance hearings. As a property owner you need to know the information on your property card is correct. You can obtain your property card by either calling the office, or through the mapping program by going to: http://www.doververmont.com/dover-mapping-program-link. Once you are in the program you can search by name, parcel id or address. If you find discrepancies, please call this office to ensure a correction will be made. If you have any questions regarding the grievance/appeal process, you can call the office at any time.
Once you have a had a hearing, you will receive a notice of decision of grievance within 7 days. It will give information as to the next step beyond the grievance process.
The Lister position is unique to the state of Vermont, and it was established before Vermont became a state. The name originated in Vermont’s early days because tax assessors were charged with the duty of “listing” all real and personal property owned by each landowner. In 1778 “An Act Directing Listers in their Office and Duty” called for citizens to give in writing “a true account of all their listable polls and their ratable estate”. This list was to be thoroughly examined and validated by the Listers. Since items were assigned listed values by category and not by market value, Listers were appropriately named.
NOTE: See “Listers’ Report in the “2014 Town Report” (2014 Report available March 2015)