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About a dozen show up to question taxes at county equalization meeting

If you didn’t get a chance to protest your tax valuation at the city or township level in April, or at the county level June 2, it’s too late for change until next year.

6/09/15 (Tue)

Sixth Street... A year ago, Kenmare's Sixth Street was closed to traffic. It opened again late last fall, but continues to be an obstacle course as Wagner Construction crews rework bad spots and attempt to make it passable in both directions. As of Friday, most of the street work has been done, however, some curb and gutter remain as well as seeding boulevards. The same crew will then be constructing the Sixth Street sidewalk.

By Marvin Baker

If you didn’t get a chance to protest your tax valuation at the city or township level in April, or at the county level June 2, it’s too late for change until next year.

Ward County tax equalization director Ryan Kamrowski said it’s his assumption now that people are generally content with their valuations because there were so few people at the courthouse for the county equalization meeting last Tuesday in Minot.

He said four, of about a dozen Ward County residents at that meeting are from Kenmare.

During a Kenmare equalization meeting April 21, at least 29 people attended to protest their new valuations.

“Of those at the city meeting, none were at the county meeting,” Kamrowski said. “We’ve added a lot of reassessments. We’re trying to get these county valuations up to market value.”

Since April, county equalization staff has met with each and every property owner who has protested in an attempt to come to a compromise on valuations. Each meeting, according to Kamrowski, generally lasted about an hour.

“We called everyone in early May and went over the property,” Kamrowski said. “We took a second look.”

He added that many of the people who attended the city equalization meeting, weren’t home when the equalization team was in Kenmare.

“The original valuation was based on an exterior show of the property,” Kamrowski said. “You can tell a lot from the outside, but you can tell more by the interior.”

He said there is a specific process that is followed in establishing fair-market valuation.

First, a letter is sent asking the property owner to schedule an appointment.

If the property owner doesn’t respond, then equalization staff show up at the property, knock on the door and if nobody is home, leave a note on the door. If that doesn’t work, his office will make another attempt to contact the property owner in 72 hours.

If that fails, the valuation is established from an exterior visual of the property.

Some property owners in April were distraught by the fact that their original valuations had increased by 70 percent.

Kamrowski clarified in April that the increased were based on property sales in Kenmare and not Minot, as some were led to believe.

In addition, he said the equalization board looks at sales that have been made at lending institutions rather than real estate agencies, as a gauge of establishing fair market value.

He said over the years, most properties have been assessed at one point in time, but the present valuation is based on the previous year’s sales.

Thus, if property sales decrease in 2015, property owners could see a decrease in their valuations in 2016.

Although Kamrowski said most property owners consider the county equalization meeting the last attempt to reach a compromise, they can still protest to the state of North Dakota and the District Court of Appeals, but in each step, it becomes more difficult to state your case and reach a compromise.

So the county equalization is generally considered the last step. “It is what it is,” Kamrowski said.

The equalization board started the process in early May in Douglas and Ryder, and later Makoti.

This week the team is working in the Donnybrook area and will be following up next week in Carpio... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!