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.
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