Tag Archives: board of appeal

Board of Appeal/Equalization, April 16, 2008

WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF APPEAL/EQUALIZATION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008

Chairman Gary Vink called the meeting to order at 10: a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were County Assessor Mike Sheehy, Wilma Township Assessor Bob Brewster, Supervisors Michael McCullen and Glenford Williamson, Clerk Paul Raymond, and Joe Vink, Eldon and Marg Schmedeke, Bruce and Donna Filler, Dave and Judy Swanson, Patrice Winfield, and Scott Quady.

Joe Vink asked for the floor to ask a question of Mike Sheehy: “What would happen if the Board lowered everyone’s taxes to what they were a year ago?” Mike said the Board has no authority over taxes, but can lower property values, but the overall taxes would remain the same. Joe said that taxpayers have lost control of their government and we have to take back the power.

Paul read the record of last years Board of Appeal/Equalization. Mike moved to approve the record; Gary seconded. Mike Sheehy confirmed that there was a quorum present and that both Gary and Glen are certified as having taken supervisor assessment training.

Mike McCullen said he has heard from outraged taxpayers who are fed up with our valuation. He said our values are way too high. There are no sales in our township because prices are set so high by realtors.

Mike Sheehy said valuations are sometimes higher than what properties sell for, sometimes less. They compare assessments to sale prices of what properties actually sell for. The middle rate is the median ratio. There were 267 sales, 1/3 less than the year before, with an average of 96.8% of market value. The base year for 2008 assessments and 2009 taxes is October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2007, so there is a lag in a time of decreasing values that won’t be reflected for a couple of years. Mike said that of 57 sales in Pine County for all land from 30 to 730 acres, only three sales were for less than $1,000 an acre, even in the declining market. Ten years ago there were many sales for $200-250 an acre. Mike said that taxes are based on local jurisdictions, such as townships and school districts. Costs for things like fuel have gone up, and towns lost local government aid that used to alleviate the tax burden.

Bob Brewster said that being fair and comparable is foremost on his mind in doing assessments. He said that evaluations are going down in Wilma township for most taxpayers. The site amenity for the first acre went down from $18,500 to $18,000. Bob encourages taxpayers to call him (320/242-3236).

First up were Bruce and Donna Filler, Parcel 32.0095. They said the appraisal is higher than the real value for their manufactured home. Their home on 8 acres is valued at $157,000, and they feel it’s closer to $100,000. Bob said their assessed values actually decreased this year, and that he could take another look at the part of their land that is swamp. Wasteland is valued at $650/acre and high ground is $1,500. Filler’s home was evaluated as a modular home, not a manufactured home, and there is a difference. Stick-built homes are $96/square foot; modular homes $70/ square foot; manufactured homes $60/square foot; and mobile homes $40/square foot.

Second, Patrice Winfield, Parcel 32.0138. She said her valuation went up and she believes it is being appraised at 100% complete. Bob said it is still rated 95% complete. She asked why her land valuation went up from $102,000 to $109,500 and her building from $144,100 to $146,400. Her overall assessment rose from $247,000 to $255,900. Bob said she has 825 feet of river front land, appraised as waterfront property, 10.25 acres of high ground, 8 acres limited access, across the river. The site amenity for riverfront property went up from $27,000 for the first acre to $35,000, an increase of $8,000.

Next, Dave and Judy Swanson, Parcel 32.0028, 42.4 acres. Bob said it went down from $80,400 to $78,100, and their overall assessment went down from $158,100 to $155,200. The limited market value of all properties has been kept artificially low for many years by the state legislature, but this will expire so the limited and estimated market values will be the same, and the limited market values went way up for 2009.

Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke, Parcels 32.0104, 0106, 0008, 0114, and 0112. He asked if any parcels in Wilma sold for over $2,000 an acre. He said these five parcels are all valued at over $2,000 an acre. Bob said three of the parcels went down in value, but 0008 has McDermott Creek running through it. Eldon said that the taxable market values are going up and this scares him. People don’t seem willing to speak up and we are going to lose our land. Bob said that by law they must set values at 90 to 105% of what it would sell at an open transaction.

Joe asked why river frontage keeps going up while DNR restrictions on use of that land keep increasing. He asked how you could remove wetlands from tax rolls. Mike explained that in southern Minnesota farmers who had wetlands that could be feasibly drained could have them removed from the tax rolls since they couldn’t farm the land.

Next, Scott Quady, Parcel 32.00160. He has 2.5 acres and a hunting shack, and he had a jump from $14,200 to $26,900, while he has made no improvements. Bob said he valued the site amenities as a full site, with a well and septic. Scott said he only has electricity. Bob said this would drop it $8,000, to $18,900.

Glen Williamson had a question about his high land vs. swampland. Because he is on the board, his questions need to go to the county board. Gary moved that Glen’s case be kept open and forwarded to the county board for action. Mike seconded.

BOARD ACTIONS:

Bruce and Donna Filler: Gary moved to change the classification of their home from modular to manufactured, and that the assessment change be made by the county assessor. Mike seconded.

Patrice Winfield: Mike moved to make no change but to have Bob re-evaluate Patrice’s property and land and forward his recommendation to the board. Glen seconded.

Dave and Judy Swanson: Glen moved to make no change; Mike seconded.

Eldon and Marg Schmedeke: Seven parcels went down and one went up due to river frontage. Glen moved that Bob review the 7 parcels and see if they are fairly assessed as far as high vs. low land. Mike seconded.

Scott Quady: Glen said this is the clearest one as it was improperly assessed for site amenities, and he moved that it be assessed as half a site; Mike seconded.

Mike had two letters. One trailer at Two Creeks Campground had no license so was assessed as private property. Mike moved to remove the assessment as private property as it has been licensed and has current registration. Gary seconded.

Second letter, Gordon and Delores Anderson, Parcel 32.0195, next to Randy Michel’s old place. They felt they were under-assessed. They have a 20 x 30′ cabin with a deck and porch. Mike moved to have Bob assess this cabin and to forward his recommendation for adjustments to the county board; Glen seconded. Glen said the Andersons deserve a commendation from the board for coming forward to have their assessment corrected.

Glen moved to adjourn; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

Paul Raymond, Clerk

Board of Review, April 11, 2007

WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF REVIEW (APPEAL/EQUALIZATION) APRIL 11, 2007

Chairman Gary Vink called the meeting to order at 11 a.m. at the Wilma Town Hall. Also present were Supervisors Michael McCullen and Glenford Williamson, Clerk Paul Raymond, County Assessor Lonna Meier, Wilma Assessor Bob Brewster.

Bob explained that there are four categories of land-classification: 1. high land; 2. limited access land; 3. no access land; and 4. waste/swamp. Mike asked if timber could be classified as agricultural if trees are used for harvesting or maple sugar, especially if the state mandates an increase in ethanol non-oil fuels. Lonna said the categories are not dependent on trees or lack of them.

The values are determined by sales from October 1 to September 30 in the townships and county. Wilma had two residential sales and two seasonal/farm sales. Prices haven’t gone down so much, but sales have. The residential/seasonal sales combined ratios were raised from 90.3% to 93.5% adjusted ratio, and farm sales ratios went from 84.5% to 99%. State law mandates our valuation to be from 90 to 105% of market value. High ground is $1,550 per acre; tillable pasture is $1,550; fair land $1,400; no access, $1,000; swamp/wetland, $650. Site-amenity adjustment for the first acre of 5 acres is $18,500. The county assessor makes estimates of the number of feet of river frontage. The first acre on a gravel road is valued at $13,500; on pavement $16,500. Amenities affect the value, like a well, electricity, sewer, etc.

First up was Alden Shute, Parcel 32.0133.000. He asked about the commercial classification of his land because of the gravel pit. Alden said the pit is finished and covered, and he is no longer mining gravel. Alden said he had talked with Assessor Mike Sheehy and thought it was already adjusted. Lonna said only 2.5 acres is assessed as gravel pit; 78 1/2 as agricultural/homestead. 16 Acres is classified tillable; 36 1/2 high ground, and 20 acres swamp. Alden said he is not digging or crushing gravel and it’s been reseeded. There is no more the board can rule on this; the assessor will remove the 2.5 acres commercial gravel classification.

Second up, Carl Kratzke, Parcel 32.0126.001, S. Duncan Road, Section 14. He asked how his land is classified, and what percentage was swamp. 216 acres is high ground; 20 acres swamp. He said beavers are damming it up and turning it into a big swamp. Bob said he would increase waste acres to 50 from 20. Lonna said this classification means that no trees can grow year around. Bob said he’d walk the land with Kratzke next year.

Next, Paul Yager, Parcel 32.0196.000: Bob said he would talk with the county assessor to see if it could be adjusted from100% value to 90% value. He is across the road from the lake and doesn’t get all the benefits of lake property. The first acre had been valued at $45,000, and it was adjusted by half, to $22,500, adding only $5,000 for the lake view. Bob said any land within 1000 feet of a lake is considered shoreland. Paul said it’s either shoreland or it’s not; he doesn’t understand how it can be in the middle.

Next up, Patrice Winfield, Parcel32.0138.002: Patrice wanted to know why her value went up from $205,300 to $263,800 when she hasn’t done anything. They list $43,000 in improvements, but she hasn’t done any improvements. Lonna said it was last assessed in 2001, and each parcel is inspected every 5 years. All improvements since 2001 were considered. Patrice said the Roberts had inspected it since the house was built. Bob said most of the increase was in the house; the land only went up $4,000. Patrice said she estimates her home is 90% done, but the ceiling is only ½ done. Lonna called the county and said last year it was only assessed as 79% complete. Bob said they could take 7 acres from high land due to limited access, $150 per acre times 6-7 acres. Bob said he would stop at Patrice’s after the meeting.

Next, Kathy Olson, Parcel 32.5034.000, Little Tamarack Lake Hills on Little Tamarack Lake. She said taxes are going up alarmingly while her enjoyment is going down. It is valued at $71,300 front foot, up $1,400 this year, and $9,500 in the three year evaluation cycle. There was a 2/3 reduction on the front feet due to the road. She said a utility line runs through the property, and they cut and spray under the line. People tear up and down the road and jet skis and powerful boats use the lake. Joe Vink told her to call the DNR as they have enforcement of the lake and shoreline and wakes can erode the shore. Lonna said that with lake lots they assess it by the first foot, not the first acre. Kathy’s is $140 per foot for 579 feet, and a 2/3 reduction because of the geography of the lot. Even though she doesn’t plan to build, it has to be treated as buildable.

Next, Paul Raymond, Parcel32.0138.001. His north 5 acres on the other section went up from $12, 400 to $38,700. Bob said this was done at the county, as they thought it had been undervalued at 25% value all these years. He asked if this five acres could be sold. Paul said there is no access and it could not be separated or sold. The county won’t allow him to merge it into his 40 acres as it is in a different section. Bob said it should be reverted to the earlier value as it is no access and not a separate parcel.

The assessors had two letters: William Peno, Parcels 32.0015 and 32.0016.000: He said the assessment on his half section is too high. Lonna said they have sales to show that it’s fairly valued. Neighboring properties have sold high. He has 160 acres total, half valued as swamp. 70 acres no access across the creek. Peno could get a letter from the DNR showing their evaluation of the land as sustainable forest to give him timber class, but it would not change the value. Mike said he sees no basis to lower the value, as Peno’s neighbor sold 80 acres for $235,000, about $1,500 per acre.

Steve and Tina Barrett, Parcel 32.0020.000: 80 acres, valued at $148,200. They have no sewer or water, and it would be reduced 25%, but Bob assessed the road as not plowed and no winter access, although it is plowed, so this would increase the value by the same amount, so it would be a wash. 20 acres swamp; 37 acres high ground, 20 acres no access, and one acre road.

BOARD ACTION:

Alden Shute: Mike moved: Remove from commercial status, returned to agricultural/pasture. Glen seconded.

Carl Kratzke: Glen moved: 30 acres be reassessed to low ground. Gary seconded. Bob will survey the land.

Paul Yager: No action; no change.

Patrice Winfield: Glen moved that Bob Brewster survey her place and forward his recommendations to the board. No action at this point.

Kathy Olson: Mike moved that the board make no change as her parcel is buildable. Gary seconded. Mike recommended that she contact the DNR about enforcing the shoreline integrity.

Paul Raymond: Glen moved that the 5 acres be returned to its previous assessment as it was classified wrong, from $38,700 to $13,300. Mike seconded.

William Peno: Glen moved no action, and to recommend to Peno that he contact the DNR and the county assessor about a sustainable forest classification. Mike seconded.

Steve Barrett: His valuation is a wash. The building site decreases but the road access increases the value by the same amount. Mike moved no action; Glen seconded.

Mike moved to adjourn; Gary seconded; meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

Paul Raymond, Clerk