Download this document in MS Word format


AutoFill Template

H.868

Introduced by   Committee on Government Operations

Date:

Subject:  Municipal and county government; municipal land records commission; property transfer tax; appropriation

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to codify the duties of the Vermont municipal land records commission.  The bill would also establish:  a municipal land records fund to be financed by one percent of the property transfer tax revenues; a system of grants to be awarded to local municipalities for the preservation of, organization of, and access to municipal land records; and a voluntary local records management certification program.  The bill would also continue to make available through fiscal year 2007 any funds previously appropriated to the commission.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE MUNICIPAL LAND RECORDS COMMISSION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. § 5403 is amended to read:

§ 5403.  MUNICIPAL LAND RECORDS COMMISSION; CREATION AND

              COMPOSITION

(a)  There is created the Vermont municipal land records commission which shall be attached to the office of the secretary of state for administrative purposes and whose appointed members shall serve for three-year terms, except for initial terms as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  The commission shall consist of the state archivist, the commissioner of buildings and general services, and the commissioner of information and innovation, or their designees.  In addition, the governor shall appoint three municipal clerks, with one representing municipalities with a population of greater than 10,000 residents for an initial term of two years, one representing municipalities with a population of greater than 3,000 residents but fewer than 10,000 residents for an initial term of three years, and one representing municipalities with a population of fewer than 3,000 residents for an initial term of four years; one licensed land surveyor to be recommended by the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors for an initial term of three years; two licensed attorneys to be recommended by the Vermont Bar Association, one of whom shall be familiar with real estate title practices for an initial term of two years and one of whom shall be a representative of the title insurance industry for an initial term of four years; one paralegal to be recommended by the Vermont Paralegal Organization for an initial term of three years; one municipal zoning administrator to be recommended by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns for an initial term of three years; one municipal legislator or chief municipal administrative officer to be recommended by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns for a term of two years; one banker jointly recommended by the Vermont Bankers Association and the Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association for an initial term of four years; one lister or assessor to be recommended by the Vermont Association of Listers and Assessors for an initial term of four years; and one licensed real estate broker to be recommended by the Vermont Association of Realtors for a term of two years.

(c)  The designated organizations shall submit their recommendations for commission members to the governor on or before July 31, 2004, and the governor shall appoint the members of the commission by September 15, 2004. In appointing individuals to this commission, the governor shall seek geographic diversity.  The commission shall have the following duties:

(1)  Propose standards for formatting, filing, recording, and preserving municipal land records.

(2)  Propose a uniform system for indexing municipal land records which may include the use of numerical identifiers. 

(3)  Propose continuing education requirements for municipal officials and corresponding compliance requirements for municipalities.

(4)  Propose incentives for municipal officials and municipalities to improve all aspects of managing and preserving municipal records.

(5)  Propose a system for financing all facets of municipal land records management on a sustainable basis.

(6)  Analyze the prerequisites for a municipality to digitalize its land records and examine related administrative and public policy issues.

(7)  Analyze the need for any future oversight of recommended uniform standards.

(8)  Analyze how to balance the conflicting public policy objectives of protecting personal privacy and providing public access to municipal land records.

(9)  Analyze any other administrative or public policy issues related to the uniformity and modernization of municipal land records which the commission may decide to address.

(10)  Create a system of grants to municipalities for the purpose of improving storage, preservation, organization, and accessibility of municipal land records.

(11)  Create a system of voluntary certification for a municipality’s land records program.

(12)  Hire a consultant to provide professional records management services.

(d)  The state archivist shall convene the first commission meeting no later than November 1, 2004, at which meeting the commission shall designate a chair and vice chair.  The governor shall designate a chair and vice chair if the commission has failed to so designate by the 30th day following its first meeting.

(e)  The members of the commission who are not employees of the state of Vermont shall be entitled to per diem compensation as provided in section 1010 of Title 32.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 5404 is added to read:

§ 5404.  MUNICIPAL LAND RECORDS FUND

A municipal land records fund is created for the purpose of assisting the municipal land records commission and municipal governments to carry out the intent of this chapter.  The fund shall be comprised of one percent of the revenue from the property transfer tax under chapter 231 of Title 32, any monies that the general assembly appropriates to the fund, or monies received from any other source, private or public.  All balances at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain in the fund.  Interest earned by the fund shall be deposited in the fund.  Of the revenues in the fund, each year an amount necessary for the support of professional records management services and administrative expenses of the commission shall be disbursed to the commission, and the remaining revenue shall be disbursed to municipalities in the form of grants as provided for in subdivision 5403(10) of this title.

Sec. 3.  APPROPRIATION

There is appropriated for fiscal year 2007 from the municipal land records fund the amount of $150,000.00 to the municipal land records commission.  

Sec. 4.  Sec. 78e of No. 122 of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) is amended to read:

Sec. 78e.  APPROPRIATION

(a)  Of the funds appropriated to the office of the secretary of state in Sec. 78 of this act, the amount of $30,000.00 in general funds shall be allocated to the Vermont municipal land records commission for administrative and research services, including the hiring of staff or consultants.  Any funds remaining at the end of fiscal year 2005 2006 shall carry forward into fiscal year 2006 2007.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us