Cass commission hears property value protests
The possibility of turning a woman out of her home was too much for the Cass County Commission Tuesday. Despite the recommendation of Cass County and Fargo tax assessors, the commission voted 4-1 to keep the assessed value of Carolyn Thompson's n...
The possibility of turning a woman out of her home was too much for the Cass County Commission Tuesday.
Despite the recommendation of Cass County and Fargo tax assessors, the commission voted 4-1 to keep the assessed value of Carolyn Thompson's north Fargo home at last year's level.
Commissioner Scott Wagner voted against the motion.
That was the only surprise as the commission met to consider several appeals of increases in home and business property values.
Because of the county's rapid growth, and because assessors cannot possibly inspect every home and business every year, some residents have seen large jumps in their assessed values - and thus in their taxes, said Frank Klein, director of equalization.
State law requires property be assessed at market value, Klein said. That means assessors can't spread the increase out over several years, or put a cap on how much a property value will increase in one year, he said.
That was part of the problem for Thompson. The value of her 100-year-old home at 806 7th St. N. rose 80 percent between 2002 and 2003 - from $36,200 to $65,200. For this year, the assessor recommended another increase, pushing the value to $70,400.
Thompson likely would be forced out of her house if the higher assessment stood, said her attorney, Carl Elofson.
Commissioner John Meyer said he looked at Thompson's house and didn't believe it could be worth $70,400.
"I've never voted against an assessor's recommendation before. I will against this one," he said.
Fargo City Assessor Ben Hushka said he agreed the recent rise in values in Fargo - especially for homes on the lower end of the price range - has been surprising. But sales of other properties show Thompson's house likely could fetch that price.
"It's almost disturbing to us what you can get for $70,000 these days," Hushka said.
Not everyone left the commission meeting happy.
Norman Maynard, who protested the assessment of his home at 1421 55th Ave. S., left in frustration before his hearing was finished.
"People told me before I came I was wasting my time, because the board would never do anything except what the assessor said," Maynard said. His appeal was turned down.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Joy Anderson at (701) 241-5556