Chairman Glenford Williamson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. at the Wilma Town Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Also present were Supervisor Michael McCullen, Clerk Paul Raymond,  Wilma Township Assessor Robert Brewster, Pine County Assessor Representative Lonna Meier, and Eric Ternes, Joe Vink, Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke, and Carl Kratzke.

Paul read the record of last year’s Board of Equalization.  Mike moved to approve; Glen seconded.

First up, Eric Ternes, Parcel 32.00166.002 and .003, south on Crooked Lake Road, the last parcels at the end of the road.  His first parcel, .002, has no utilities or water.  There is a 10’x56’ mobile home and a pole garage.  Bob checked his assessment and said that it should be appraised with only a 25% site amenity, not 100%, so there should be a ¾ reduction on the trailer.  The parcel is on the west side of Crooked Creek, with 125 acres high ground, 20 acres swamp.  Eric says no one stays in the mobile home and he will dismantle it if it can’t be reclassified.  It is now valued at $2,000, $1,000 for the roof cover, for an annual tax of about $20.  Bob is willing to cut the trailer to half, or $1,000. Eric said he wants 45 acres designated swamp instead of the current 20.  Bob said that high ground is valued at $1,425/acre according to the sales study.  Lonna said that based on all sales from October 2008 to Oct. 2009 the high ground price was lowered $75 from $1,500/acre.  Swamp land is $575/acre.  Bob said that for the two sales  in Wilma Township during the sales study period the county was 6 ½% too high.

Eric just bought the adjoining 42 acres with a furnished cabin.  It has two bedrooms but is assessed for three, and two bathrooms, but it has 1 and a half.  This was appraised at $263,800 last year and $235,100 this year.  He paid $195,000 for it complete.  Bob says he can’t base an assessment on what anyone paid; some get good deals and some pay more than the land is worth.  Mike said these above value sales hurt everyone, driving all values up.  The county does not count foreclosures and bankruptcies.  Bob said they could reduce the bedrooms and the baths to one ½.  There are 10 acres swamp; Bob said this could be closer to 15 acres.  Lonna said that swamp must be wet year around and incapable of growing trees. They also have a pasture/timber class called “fair” that is a little less than high ground.

Lonna asked Eric if he knew about the managed forest classification.  Eric said he already has some land in this, and would like to enroll 42 more acres in sustainable forest.  The requirements have changed to require a forester to come out and inspect the land.  Lonna said that with the new legislation, the foresters are deluged with requests.  The requirements are that it be wooded and not subdivided, and the owner gets a rebate, but has to report it as income.  It’s run by the Minnesota Dept. of Revenue.  Bob said that if the swamp is increased by 5 acres it could be a difference of around $4,250, from $235,100 to $230,000

Next, Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke, Parcel 32.0008 on the Pete Anderson Road. He asked if he was being assessed more because this land is on the section line, because the assessor had asked him if this was on a section line.   Bob said no, but it is at the section lines at the northern and western tiers where adjustments are made.  This land had a $68,900 value in 2009; $81,300 in 2010; and for 2011 it is $74,000, and Eldon wants it reduced to $68,000.   Eldon said he would have appealed last year, but couldn’t attend the meeting.  Eldon does have a recorded easement into the land, and this site amenity makes it worth more.

Eldon had another parcel, in Section 12, the SE ¼ of the SW ¼, which was valued at $94,100 last year but is now $84,200.   It is now $2,100 per acre, and he thinks it should be $1,900 based on land he sold nearby.  McDermott Creek goes through the property and is on the county road.  Bob said there has to be a factual reason to change the value of any parcel, and waterfront properties are going very high.

Mike asked if they take into consideration private assessments?  Lonna said they like to see these private assessments, but without sales they don’t change the township values.  Also private appraisers use foreclosure sales and bankruptcies, and out-of-county sales, which the county doesn’t.  Lonna said that land closer to I-35 corridor is appraised higher, and land south is higher. We are higher than Arna and even higher than New Dosey.  Rock Creek land is $2,150/acre.

Carl Kratzke, Parcel 32.00126:  On the South Duncan Road.  Carl said it used to be classified as timber and is now seasonal/recreational and rural/vacant.  Lonna said they count the first 10 acres as recreational if there are buildings, and the rest as rural/vacant land.  Carl said it’s been filed for sustainable forest since 1999; they have 240 acres in sustainable acres.  There is a small mobile home valued at $1,897, and a junkier one. Carl said he thought the buildings were appraised at $5,000 value.  The total assessed value is $341,700, the land $338,000 and buildings $3,700.  Carl said he is disassembling the larger mobile home.  Bob will check it out in the fall.  Carl said he was sure the board agreed that he had 50 acres of swamp a few years ago (it’s now 20 acres swamp).   Glen and Mike checked the aerial photos and agreed that it should be 50 acres swamp.  Carl said the County Surveyor checked South Duncan Road and determined that the road is on Kratzke’s land.  They cut some of the trees on Kratzke’s land and their own land.  Bob said that Carl should not be taxed for the 6 acres of road as it is a township road.  He said the valuation can be reduced from $341,000 to $250,000 due to the road and the swamp.

Paul Raymond, Parcel 32.0138, five acres north of his section line.  Paul asked if he is being charged for a site amenity, even though the land is connected.  Bob said the site amenity was removed a few years ago.

Glen Williamson, Parcel 32.0074, on the east side of his campground. Glen said he has no access to this land and it is all bog and swamp.  Lonna said they could call it no access and take 15 acres off the high ground classification.  Because Glen could not recuse himself, Lonna said he should write to the assessor explaining the situation and get a ruling.

Thomas Desile, 120 acres on the north and west shores of Little Tamarack Lake, called the assessors, but did not attend the meeting.

William Ramsey, Parcel 32.0219.000, by Grace’s Lake.  This land is landlocked with no access except by boat or on foot.  Bob said he is not paying any site amenities and is appraised less because it is landlocked and no access, and it is as low as it can go.

Board Decisions: Eric Ternes: On the first parcel, Mike moved that it be reduced by ¾ site amenity, approximately $9,750.  Glen seconded. Glen moved to change Eric’s second parcel from 3 bedroom, 2 baths, to 2 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, and to increase the swamp to 15 acres.  Also to change the mobile home to a storage shed.  Mike seconded.

Eldon and Marg Schmedeke: Mike said that the recorded easement makes the land worth more, and this increases the site amenity. Mike moved to change 8 acres on the NW corner across the river to no access, about a $3,200 reduction from limited access to no access.  Glen seconded.  Mike said that if they change the second parcel from swamp to no access, this would actually increase the value, so he recommended there be no change.

Carl Kratzke, S. Duncan Road: Glen moved to change the swamp to 50 acres, from 20, and to remove South Duncan Road from the tax rolls, approximately 6 acres.  Mike seconded.

William Ramsey: Glen moved that there be no change; Mike seconded.

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

Paul Raymond, Clerk