Dear Washington State Appraisers:
I would like to follow-up with everyone on our last request for additional donations to get through 2011; since I last wrote, we have collected approximately $2,300 in donations for retiring our 2011 lobbyist bill! We currently have an outstanding balance of less than $2,500 and I would like to remind all of those that have not had to the chance to do so, to please consider donating to ACOW now (www.acow-wa.org). And for those that have generously donated, many thanks to you for stepping up and supporting our profession.
In my last letter, we asked appraisers for $100 of which $45 would go towards 2012 ACOW dues and the other $55 would be a donation for 2011; we are extending this request again, now.
As we enter into December, the Washington State Legislature is scheduled to convene for a special session as the state looks to fill the $2B funding gap. Now, more than ever, having our lobbyist to make sure that the appraisers’ dedicated fund is not re-appropriated to the general fund is crucial! Having our lobbyist in Olympia is one way to ensure that our dedicated fund stays with the appraisers.
Additionally, last week I had a meeting with the Washington Environmental Council (www.wecprotects.org), a Washington State-based environmental group that wants to legislate energy‑efficiency amongst real estate professionals (appraisers, agents, and mortgage brokers/ loan originators) in Washington State; they are considering submitting legislation in January 2012 that would require mandatory education (again)!
While there is legislation that was introduced in the national Congress in the S.A.V.E. Act recently that deals with energy-efficiency, this group does not feel that this will happen fast enough and that energy-efficiency consideration in Washington State needs quicker attention. Having met with this group, I was surprised that they are not working with any other industry (akin to the building industry that attempted to legislate “green” education on appraisers in 2009); they simply want to make the environment better (this group is currently in litigation with the Washington State Department of Ecology and is suing them for not enforcing the state’s “Clean Air Act” strong enough with five state oil refineries).
In attempting to legislate this process, they want to dictate which classes Washington State appraisers take for qualifying and continuing education! While it does not appear that this pertains to other “green” movements, they feel that energy-efficiency needs to be considered in every appraisal (both commercial property and residential buildings) assignment. While they recognize the Appraisal Institute’s recently released “Energy-Efficiency Addendum” as a positive step in their quest, they do not believe that real estate professionals understand this concept, or at least are not considering it enough in the industry; they strongly believe that mandatory education will solve all of these problems.
Your ACOW board will be discussing actions to combat this in the coming days and try to offer alternatives to this group to legislation. At our meeting, I also proposed to them that they gather the stakeholders first, to see what is being done, and then if that is not good enough for them, to move ahead—expecting strong opposition from the appraisal profession.
This is where we need your help! As a volunteer organization, most of these legislative battles will be done by our lobbyist, with our input. But, we cannot employ our lobbyist without funding. So please, at this time, consider making a donation to ACOW for 2011 and renewing your membership for 2012. If you already donated to ACOW since my last letter, please consider urging a colleague to donate to the health of our profession.
To contribute to ACOW, use the payment link at www.acow-wa.org or mail a check to:
6351 Seaview Ave. NW,
Seattle, WA 98107
Best Personal Regards,
Justin Slack, SRA
2011 President, ACOW Board of Directors
p.s. Annual ACOW elections are coming up so if you have an interest in serving on the board or want to volunteer in any capacity, please be sure to contact us.