Fewer Davison County taxpayers appeal property assessments this yearCounty-level hearings for property tax assessment appeals began Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell, where officials face a much lighter workload than last year.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
County-level hearings for property tax assessment appeals began Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell, where officials face a much lighter workload than last year.
Thirty-four appeals are filed this year on 36 real-estate parcels. The number is a far cry from the 71 appeals on 116 parcels in 2011, noted Director of Equalization Kathy Goetsch.
“I guess you could say I’m very appreciative,” she said. “It’s a lot less chaotic.”
Last year, Goetsch’s office completed the first comprehensive re-assessment of commercial properties in many years. That caused some large increases in commercial assessments and sparked outrage among affected property owners, who appealed their assessments in droves.
Appeals must be cleared by May 1, and in 2011, that meant multiple meetings each week for an extended period for township, city and county boards. Appellants at the township and city levels had to appeal to those local boards first and then to the county board if they weren’t satisfied.
This year, the Mitchell Township and Mitchell city boards are combined into consolidated boards with county officials. Appellants no longer have to appeal to the local board first and then the county; they just go straight to the consolidated board, thereby eliminating a step in the process.
Goetsch said 2012 appeals can be easily handled in the next three weeks without adding additional, unscheduled meeting times. Extra meetings were needed last year.
In preliminary business Tuesday with the county commissioners, who sat as the County Board of Equalization, Goetsch said the assessed valuation of properties qualifying for tax exemptions within the county amounts to $22.03 million.
That number includes $166,655 for paraplegic exemptions; $1,590,485 for disabled veterans, $15,196,840 under the discretionary tax program for new businesses; $3,521,935 for the elderly and disabled; and $1,554,555 for renewable resources, or credit for wind or geothermal energy.
During the public input segment of the regular commission meeting, the commissioners heard from Baker Township resident Darrell Mueller, who said he represents other township residents who are against a hog feeding operation being planned in his township by Jackrabbit Family Farms.
“We are not anti-hog and we’re not against it being built, but we would like to see it built somewhere else where it would be more welcome,” Mueller said. “We can’t even find out who the investors are.”
The commissioners declined Mueller’s offer to tour the site of the area that would be affected by the proposed hog operation.
Commissioner Denny Kiner said the commissioners must as decision-makers review applications without any official bias, even though they may have personal feelings about a project.
“The process is governed by county ordinance, and we have to approve a conditional use permit if a project meets all state and county guidelines,” Kiner said. “We have sympathy with area landowners, but we have to follow regulations — no less and no more.”
The commissioners will make a final decision on Jackrabbit Farms’ conditional use application at 10 a.m. next Tuesday. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval at its April 2 meeting.
Commissioner Kim Weitala was out of town on business and was absent Tuesday. In other business, the commissioners:
* Inked a $3,000 preliminary agreement with Puetz Corp. for design services for planning the layout of the Central Electric Cooperative building on North Main Street for use by the commissioners and the county’s community health nurses. Mark Puetz said his company’s service will include a site plan, and interior and exterior renderings of the building as well as preliminary cost and material estimates for reconfiguring the space.
* Approved, at the recommendation of 4-H Youth Program Adviser Alice Nickelson, the following members of the Fair Board: George Breidenbach, Mary Froning, Janelle Thiesse, Barb Weber, Gerald Weiss, Mark Ruml, Will Haugen, Brad Greenway, Jan Peterson, Jim Morken, Denny Kiner, Lawrence Schmitt, and Ellyn Eddy.
* Removed spring load limits on county roads, effective Thursday.
* Authorized Weed Supervisor John Geidel to begin weed spraying earlier than normal, due to the abnormally warm weather and large amounts of leafy spurge in the county. Geidel said spraying will start April 25.
* Approved a right-of-way agreement with Santel Communications Cooperative that will let that company bury 0.5- to 2-inch diameter fiber-optic cable beside roads to serve customers in the western half of the county. Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said the agreement requires Santel to move the cable in the event the roadways are widened at a later date.
* Gave Auditor Susan Kiepke permission to hire Anita Aaker as temporary help to prepare for the June 5 primary election, with Aaker working 30 hours a week at $10 an hour from April 23 to June 5.
Board of Equalization
Sitting as the Board of Equalization, the commissioners:
* Changed the classification status of property owned by Gayle Lanier Sheppard at 2120 W. Fifth Ave., Mitchell, from non-owner occupied to owner-occupied.
* Upheld the status of property owned by Michelle Oster Norby as non-ag, since it did not contain the required minimum 25 acres for agricultural status.
* Approved classification changes from non-ag to ag for Richard and Bonnie McBrayer in Ethan; Douglas Schoenfelder in Baker Township; and the VanOverschelde Trust in Perry township.
* Approved an assessment reduction from $40,700 to $37,200 for property owned by Pernell Titze at 25935 395th Ave. in Union Township, because a previously assessed grain bin had been removed and because an unoccupied house on the property is in poor and deteriorating condition.
* Noted that the first Tuesday night meeting of the Consolidated Equalization Board was to consider 2012 tax assessment challenges from property owners in the city of Mitchell and in Mitchell Township.
Tuesday evening challenges for Mitchell Township include Dean and Kimberly Young, 701 N. Blair St.; and Robert E. Young, in Mitchell Township.
Challenges for properties in the city of Mitchell include Jordan Muntefereing, 212 W. Elm Ave.; Robert Folkerts, 314 E. Sixth Ave.; James Tegethoff, 603. S. Montana St.; Connie Bormann, 520 Greenridge Lane; Rodney Hall, 1424 S. Miller Ave.; Douglas Backlund, 608 S. Juanita St.; and Jerry Regynski, 1330 S. Kimball St.