April 25, 2017

Maine Prairie Township
Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting
April 25, 2017 4:30 p.m.

Present: Chair Loewen, Supervisor Kuechle, Supervisor Wicker, Clerk/Treasurer Hunt, Stearns County Senior Appraiser Connor Rausch and Stearns County Assessor Jeff Johnson and Charles Craft.

Chair Loewen opened the meeting at 4:30 p.m. with the pledge to the flag.

Jeff Johnson, Stearns County Assessor, and Connor Rausch, Stearns County Senior Appraiser advised the Board that the 2017 assessment study of residential property values increased about 2-5%. Ag land and Commercial/Industrial property values were relatively flat to a slight increase. The biggest changes were on Pearl Lake and School Section Lake. There were five (5) sales on Pearl Lake that were used for the study and all sales indicated that the values needed to go up about 10-15%. After reviewing sales after the sales study period, they also indicated that another increase may be necessary for the 2018 assessment. There was one qualified sale on School Section Lake that indicated the values on the lake needed a large increase along with comparing values to the other lakes in Maine Prairie Township, School Section Lake was quite a bit lower, therefore increasing School Section Lake 8-10%.

Supervisor Wicker posed a question as to why Maine Prairie Township’s tax capacity rate is one of highest, to which Stearns County Assessor’s responded by sharing information about the tax base and levy. Reports were produced and information shared showing how the tax capacity rate was calculated for the township. It was also noted that the township has two capacity rates – 25.382808 and 30.67531584 for different areas due to several properties moving from Rockville City to Maine Prairie Township. Some concern was expressed by the Board about the higher rate being published rather than the lower rate. The assessors acknowledged this point and offered to review it with county officials in the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office who publish the report to see if a change in the tax capacity rate cited for Maine Prairie Township could be made. The assessors informed the supervisors that copies of the current report detailing the 2017 tax capacity rates for the township would be sent to the clerk for her review and record-keeping.

Charles Craft asked if property owners could be provided with the assessment report a week before the LBAE meeting, to which Stearns County Assessor’s responded by stating that this information cannot be provided a week prior because of timelines incurred.

Charles Craft posed a question asking about assessor fees, to which he was informed that the Township paid $16,019.00 for assessment charges in 2016.

No property owners appeared before the Board. No written requests were received at the County Assessor’s Office for review and presentation to the Board.

A motion was made by Supervisor Wicker to adjourn the 2017 Board of Appeal and Equalization. Supervisor Kuechle seconded. All present were in favor. The meeting adjourned at 5:38 p.m.

Lori Hunt