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2012 notices of value sent to area residents

MORRIS, Minn. - Assessment notices in Stevens County for taxes to be paid in 2013 will be arriving in mailboxes shortly.

County Assessor Judy Thorstad emphasized that Board of Review and Equalization meetings are designed to discuss the Estimated Market Value (listed at the top of the property valuation form), not the Taxable Market Value.

The Taxable Market Value, which will be determined later in the process, is impacted by changes in the Legislature and local levies.

The sales ratio for the 2012 assessment are sales that took place between Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011. Every taxable parcel in the county will received a card, which includes two years of property valuation information. Cards will be sent out on March 16, 2012.

Property owners in the City of Morris who wish to appeal the Estimated Market Value need to make an appointment with the Morris Local Board of Appeal and Equalization. Appointments are made through the Assessor's Office, and property will be viewed before going to the board.

"Only the folders of taxpayers that made appointments with our office are brought to the Morris Local Board of Appeal and Equalization," said Thorstad. "Recommendations are made at the time of the Board meeting because property has already been viewed."

It is also important to call the assessor prior to the Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting to discuss any questions, said Thorstad. Many questions can be answered before the meeting, and meeting ahead of time can help taxpayers be more informed for the meeting.

If a taxpayer wants to appeal to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization, they must have first attended the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization. Appointments for the County Board will also be made through the Assessor's Office.

There were some general changes made during the 2012 assessment:

• The value of tillable land increased an average of 20 percent, but the number varies by township because of sales. The average estimated market value of tillable land in Stevens County is $3,289 per acre. The sales prices range from $3,000 to $5,469 per tillable acre for the sale period.

• Building and land values for rural residential property vary by township sales that took place in each taxing district.

• Increases and decreases for residential property in the City of Morris are done by neighborhood. There will be an average increase or decreases of between zero and three percent.

"If you received an increase, so did your neighborhood," said Thorstad. "This does not include new construction."

• Some adjustments were made on commercial/apartment property in the City of Morris for equalization purposes.

• Residential property in the cities of Hancock, Aberta, Donnelly and Chokio were adjusted for equalization purposes, but there were no city-wide increases.

Taxpayers with questions about the estimated market value are encouraged to call the Assessor's Office at (320) 208-6550. A full schedule of Board of Appeal and Equalization meetings is available on our website. All local meetings are scheduled between April 2 and April 9. The County Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting is set for Monday, June 11 at 7 p.m.