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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.446

Introduced by Representatives Edwards of Brattleboro and Marek of Newfane

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Local option for community preservation; taxation; local option property transfer surtax

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish a local option property transfer surtax of 2.0 percent to fund the preservation of farms, forest lands, lands with scenic values, land for nature or wildlife reserves, easements for trails, and lands for hunting and other recreational use.

AN ACT RELATING TO A LOCAL OPTION PROPERTY TRANSFER SURTAX TO FUND A MUNICIPALITY’S LOCAL LAND BANK FUND

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

Sec. 1.  SHORT TITLE

This act may be cited as “The Vermont Heritage Act.” 

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 4350(e) is amended to read:

(e)  During the period of time when a municipal planning process is confirmed:

* * *

(5)  The municipality shall be eligible to impose a land bank property transfer surtax, in accordance with the provisions of 32 V.S.A. § 9602 and section 4403 of this title.

Sec. 3.  24 V.S.A. § 4403 is amended to read:

§ 4403.  NONREGULATORY IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS

A municipality may utilize the following tools, and other tools not specifically listed, in conformance with the municipal plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title, alone or in conjunction with regulatory tools described in section 4402 of this title.

* * *

(7)  Land bank property transfer surtax.  A municipality with a planning process confirmed under section 4350 of this title may establish a land bank property transfer surtax, in accordance with the procedures established in 32 V.S.A. § 9602(c), with the proceeds to be deposited into a municipal land bank fund established under section 4434 of this title.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 4434 is added to read:

§ 4434.  MUNICIPAL LAND BANK

(a)  Land bank fund.  A municipality with a planning process confirmed under section 4350 of this title may establish a land bank property transfer surtax, in accordance with the procedures established in 32 V.S.A. § 9602(c), with the proceeds to be deposited into a municipal land bank fund established  in conformance with reserve fund requirements established in section 2804 of this title.  A fund established under this subsection may also contain:

(1)  Funds appropriated, borrowed, or transferred to be deposited into the fund by vote of the municipality.

(2)  Voluntary contributions of money and other liquid assets to the fund.

(3)  Proceeds from disposal of real property or interests.

(b)  Use of proceeds.  Proceeds of the municipal land bank fund may be used for the purchase of development rights under the provisions of section 4431 of this title, in conformance with the town plan.  In addition, proceeds may be used to purchase land and for stewardship of that land for purposes set forth in section 4302 of this title and in conformance with the plan.  Interests in land to be acquired may consist of any of the following:

(1)  land to protect existing and future well fields, aquifers, and recharge areas;

(2)  agricultural lands;

(3)  forest land;

(4)  marshes and other wetlands;

(5)  stream and pond frontage, beaches and adjoining lands, to protect their natural and scenic resources;

(6)  land to protect scenic vistas;

(7)  land for nature or wildlife preserves;

(8)  easements for trails and for publicly owned lands; and

(9)  land for hunting and other recreational use.

(c)  Administration.  Municipal regulations shall provide that the fund be administered by an entity named by the municipality to act as land bank administrator.  The land bank administrator shall be advised by a land bank advisory board established by the selectboard to include one representative duly appointed, by its membership, of the selectboard, planning commission, and municipal listers.  In addition, the advisory board shall include one member appointed by its membership from each of the following municipal boards should they exist:  conservation commission; board of health; park and recreation commission; water commission; and department of public works.  The land bank administrator and the land bank advisory board shall encourage community involvement with respect to the identification of lands to be purchased and the authorized uses of lands purchased.

(d)  Uses of protected lands.

(1)  The land bank administrator shall retain any real property interest acquired pursuant to this section predominantly in its natural, scenic, or open condition, and shall not restrict access to any property interest on the basis of residency or domicile.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the land bank administrator may make improvements to any land held for passive recreational use that are not inconsistent with such use.  With respect to any such real property interest, the land bank administrator shall not permit any of the following without the approval of the advisory board and without the approval of the secretary of natural resources with regard to situations in which the law requires the approval of the secretary:

(A)  construction or placing of buildings, roads, signs, billboards, or other advertising utilities or other structures on or above the surface;

(B)  dumping or placing of soil or other substance or material as landfill, or dumping or placing of trash, waste, or unsightly or offensive materials;

(C)  removal or destruction of trees, shrubs, or other vegetation;

(D)  excavation, dredging, or removal or loam, peat, gravel, soil, rock, or other mineral substance in such manner as to affect the surface;

(E)  surface use except for purposes permitting the land or water area to remain predominantly in its natural condition;

(F)  activities detrimental to drainage, flood control, water conservation, erosion control, or soil conservation; or

(G)  other acts or uses detrimental to such retention of land or water areas.

(2)  In determining whether to approve a request from the land bank commission to use or improve any real property interest acquired by the land bank administrator in a manner otherwise prohibited by this section, the secretary of natural resources shall consider whether that request is in the interest of conservation and any national, state, regional, or local program in furtherance of conservation, and also any regional or municipal comprehensive land use or development plan affecting the land, and any known proposal by a governmental body for use of the land.

(e)  Records of actions.  The land bank administrator shall keep a full and accurate account of its action, including a record as to whom, from or to whom, and on what account money has been paid or received relative to this section, and as to when, from and to whom and for what consideration real property interests have been acquired, disposed of, or improved.

Sec. 5.  32 V.S.A. § 9602 is amended to read:

§ 9602.  TAX ON TRANSFER OF TITLE TO PROPERTY

(a)  A tax is hereby imposed upon the transfer by deed of title to property located in this state.  The amount of the tax equals one and one quarter one‑quarter percent of the value of the property transferred, or $1.00, whichever is greater, except as follows:

(1)  with respect to the transfer of property to be used for the principal residence of the transferee, the tax shall be imposed at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the property transferred and at the rate of one and one quarter one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred in excess of $100,000.00.

(2)  with respect to the transfer of property which is enrolled at the time of the transfer in a program under chapter 124 of this title, or is otherwise a working farm at the time of the transfer if not so enrolled, the tax shall be imposed in the amount of five-tenths of one percent on the entire value of the property transferred; provided, however, that no part of the property is converted to a use which would subject it to the land use change tax or an obligation to repay property tax benefits under chapter 124 of this title for a period of three years following the date of the transfer, or if it is a working farm which is not enrolled under chapter 124, that the property is not taken out of agricultural production for a period of six years following the date of the transfer.  For the purposes of this subdivision, a working farm shall mean a parcel of land actively used by a farmer, as that term is defined under section subdivision 3752(7) of this title.  If the conditions of this subdivision are breached by the buyer, the buyer shall be obligated to pay the full transfer tax in the amount of one and one-quarter percent, and this obligation shall run with the land.

(3)  with respect to the transfer to a housing cooperative organized under chapter 7 and whose sole purpose is to provide principal residences for all of its members or shareholders, or to an affordable housing cooperative under chapter 14 of Title 11, of property to be used as the principal residence of a member or shareholder, the tax shall be imposed in the amount of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the residence transferred and at the rate of one and one-quarter percent of the value of the residence transferred in excess of $100,000.00; provided that the homesite leased by the cooperative is used exclusively as the principal residence of a member or shareholder.  If the transferee ceases to be an eligible cooperative at any time during the six years following the date of transfer, the transferee shall then become obligated to pay any reduction in property transfer tax provided under this subdivison, and the obligation to pay the additional tax shall also run with the land.

(b)  In addition to the tax imposed under subsection (a) of this section, a land bank property transfer surtax is also imposed upon the transfer by deed of title to property located in a municipality which has voted as provided in subsection (c) of this section to impose a local option land bank property transfer surtax.  The amount of the land bank surtax shall be two percent of the value of the property transferred, and shall be subject to all the provisions of this chapter.

(c)  If the legislative body of a city, town, or incorporated village with a planning process confirmed by the regional planning commission under

24 V.S.A. § 4350, by a majority vote recommends, the voters of that municipality may assess a two percent local option land bank property transfer surtax.  This shall take place at an annual or special meeting warned for that purpose, by action of a majority vote of those present and voting.  A surtax imposed under the authority of this subsection shall take effect no earlier than 90 days after the date of the vote, and shall be collected and administered by the department of taxes, in accordance with this chapter.  The taxes collected under this subsection, after reduction for the costs of the department of taxes for administration and collection, shall be paid on a quarterly basis to the municipality in which they were collected, for deposit into that municipality’s land bank fund established under 24 V.S.A. § 4434.  The voters of a municipality may terminate the surcharge established under this section, at an annual or special meeting warned for that purpose, by a majority vote of those present and voting.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us