Residents request property value changesWORTHINGTON — Each year, Nobles County Commissioners are required to conduct a board of equalization meeting to allow property owners an opportunity to request changes in the value placed on their property.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Each year, Nobles County Commissioners are required to conduct a board of equalization meeting to allow property owners an opportunity to request changes in the value placed on their property. Tuesday night, three individuals attended the meeting in person to request that values placed on their parcels be lowered.
Jeremy Balster of Adrian was the first to appear before the board. He said the $211,600 value placed on his home in Adrian was too high, considering an appraiser valued the home at $195,000 earlier this year when he went through refinancing.
Balster, who was denied his request to lower the value by the Adrian Board of Equalization, said his home’s taxes are similar to those in another Adrian development where homes are approximately 15 years newer.
“In my mind, the neighborhood is older now,” Balster said. “I think (the valuation) should be more closer to that market appraisal.”
Citing that Balster’s increase was single digit (9 percent), while his neighbors had a double digit increase, the county board of equalization denied the request to lower Balster’s property valuation.
Also from the city of Adrian, Gerald Johnson presented a complaint about the more than 70 percent increase in his property’s value in Lots 5 and 6 in Block 2, on Adrian’s Maine Avenue. The property was valued at $5,500 in 2011 and $25,000 in 2012.
The building had sustained fire damage and, as a result, Johnson replaced the furnace, installed new wiring and new plumbing, in addition to remodeling.
“Gary (Spaeth, assessor for the city of Adrian) saw the new construction and he reported that,” said Nobles County Assessor Joe Udermann. “The assessor is going off building costs.”
Johnson called the valuation an “abrupt change,” and Commissioners Vern Leistico and Diane Thier agreed. The two commissioners voted to reduce the valuation by $5,000, but the motion failed on a 3-2 vote. A follow-up vote, to leave the valuation the same — just as the city of Adrian opted to do —was approved on a 3-2 vote.
The third request came from Daryl Harberts regarding a 1.5 acre parcel north of the city of Rushmore, along Nobles County 35, in Dewald Township. The land was valued at $22,000 in 2012, down from a valuation of $24,300 in 2011, but Harberts said he wasn’t going to keep the land if it was valued that high. He said he was offered $15,000 for the property, with the interested party wanting to use the land as a salvage yard.
Udermann said that since the land is zoned for commercial use, it warranted the value it was given. Commissioners denied the request to lower the value of the property.
Other action taken during Tuesday night’s meeting was the result of a computer glitch and three requests in Elk Township that could not be acted on by that township’s board of equalization. They include:
* A reduction in the estimated market value of the Walter and Norman Vogt property within the city limits from $1,904,500 to $1,313,600. Udermann said the land falls under the Green Acres program, which values agricultural land within the city limits the same as the average tillable acre in the county. The change reduced the taxable market value from $981,300 to $856,300.
“It was a system error, but the board still has to approve the new value,” Udermann said. “We’re just correcting the increase.”
* A reduction in valuation to a Bruce and Brian Kempema parcel in Elk Township from $1,072,400 to $1,051,200 because some buildings were torn down on the site.
* A reduction in valuation to the Fern Soderholm parcel in Elk Township from $574,600 to $538,000.
* A reduction in valuation to the Shawn Kluever parcel in Elk Township from $67,900 to $62,700.
Prior to the Board of Equalization meeting, commissioners met in special session to approve a limited employment agreement with interim Nobles County Administrator Vijay Sethi.
Sethi was originally hired as an independent contractor for the county, on direction from a labor attorney, but liability concerns were raised by the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust.
The new contract will better define Sethi’s employment, and does not change his overall compensation. It will be retroactive to his May 29 employment and supersedes the original contract.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.