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Board acts on valuations after property owners balk they’re too high

WORTHINGTON -- A tie vote Tuesday evening among Nobles County commissioners and the county auditor-treasurer, acting as the Board of Appeal and Equalization, will result in no change to the property value of a Worthington home, despite a recommen...

WORTHINGTON - A tie vote Tuesday evening among Nobles County commissioners and the county auditor-treasurer, acting as the Board of Appeal and Equalization, will result in no change to the property value of a Worthington home, despite a recommendation from the county assessor’s office that the value be lowered.

Dennis and Marie Weeks were not present at the meeting, but had communicated with the assessor’s office of their wish to seek further lowering of the valuation on their Elmwood Avenue home.

The Weekses purchased their home at 1201 Elmwood Ave. two years ago for $249,500. The 2018 valuation of the property along the golf course was $299,600.

Nobles County Assessor Val Ruesch said Weeks appealed the value to the city, and during its meeting in early May, the Worthington Board of Appeals lowered the value to $249,000. She said that after further evaluation of the property, the grade used to determine value was too high, and therefore should be changed. She recommended lowering the valuation to $196,100.

When the motion was made by Commissioner Matt Widboom to reduce the value to $196,100 due to the grade change, it resulted in a tie vote. Commissioners Gene Metz and Bob Demuth Jr. joined Widboom in support, and Commissioners Donald Linssen and Justin Ahlers, along with Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove, were in opposition.

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Linssen said he didn’t support lowering the value because of the amount the Weekses paid for the home two years ago. Van Hove said she thought $196,100 was really low.

“I don’t see where the condition of the place has changed that much,” Van Hove said.

With a split vote, County Attorney Kathleen Kusz was called in. Once she arrived at the meeting, she pointed to the Minnesota Department of Revenue Handbook, which states that if the board is unable to come to a decision about the property value, it’s to be deemed a no change and the property owner has the right to appeal in tax court.

“I would interpret the tie vote as the board cannot come to agreement of what is to be done, therefore it is to be deemed a no change. That would be my advice,” Kusz said.

There were three other parcels addressed during the meeting.

Kim Dailey, 2119 Nobles St., Worthington, appealed the value of her family’s home after the city acted previously to reduce it from $271,100 to $258,700.

Dailey, who said the family had tried to get a loan for a third addition to the home, said the family was denied because it couldn’t get a loan for more than the home is worth, and that the home is already overbuilt for the neighborhood.

“We feel we shouldn’t be paying taxes for more than our home is worth,” Dailey said, referring to a $205,000 appraised value of the home completed in May.

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Ruesch said an interior inspection of the home was conducted last week and, as a result, her office recommended lowering the value of the parcel to $246,100. The board agreed and authorized the reduction in valuation.

The board also reduced the valuation on a parcel at 704 Third Ave., Brewster, from $101,800 to $76,200 based on the assessor’s recommendation after a staff visit to the property.

Despite an appeal from the property owner of 1211 E. Lake Blvd., Worthington, on the $126,500 valuation for the home, the board voted no change.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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