OCC tackles property values, snow removal

By Wren Murphy

The Oliver County commissioners voted to increase the assessed value of residential property in the county by less than 1% at their Thursday, Jan. 6 meeting.

The Commission voted to increase the residen-
tial property valuation of Oliver County by 0.976% and to keep the valuation of agricultural property the same. This is an increase to the residential properties’ assessed values, which are used for determining how much an individual will pay in property taxes.

But, an increase in as- sessed value does not neces- sarily mean an individual will see an increase in prop- erty taxes. The amount
the local government asks for in property taxes is determined by the entities’ budgets. An individual property’s assessed value will also not necessarily
go up by 0.976%. The age and condition of the house could lead to a larger or smaller increase, or even to a decrease in some cases.

Before the property value assessment process, the state of North Dakota provides a number to the county based on the cur- rent economy, housing

market and amount prop- erties are being sold for, among other factors. The county’s assessed value must remain within 90% to 100% of that number.

Patricia Koapke, the county’s tax equalization director, said in an interview after the meeting that, before this increase, the county was hovering right on the 90% boundary. This increase will place the assessed residential property value in the county at about 92% of the state’s number. Typically, Koapke said, the state wants to see counties at about 95%.

“It (92%) is the very lowest I can go,” Koapke said. “We do not want the state coming in because they want 95%, and they’ll put it at 95%.”

Koapke said in the meet- ing that, by making small increases to keep pace with the current market, the county should be able to avoid large jumps. The county has not made a change in the assessed value of residential proper- ties for two years.

“If there needs to be an increase, I’d rather do a small increase to stay within the state [range] than do a large increase [later],” she said.

The Commission also discussed problems with snow removal on the side-

walk across from the post office on Highway 48. Hus- floen said he had received complaints from people who had almost fallen while using the sidewalk. Road Superintendent Kyle Miller said he would clear the sidewalk again after the meeting, and the Commis- sion considered how the county and state can work to keep the sidewalk safe and accessible but made no firm decisions.

Husfloen and Berger also approved the commis- sioners’ appointments to various boards. Husfloen will serve on the Coal Con- version Counties Board, Dakota Central Social Services Board and West Central Human Service Center Regional Advisory Council.

Berger will serve as the emergency services repre- sentative for the region as well as on the Job Develop- ment Association, Solid Waste Management and Land Reclamtion Board and the Swimming Pool Committee.

Commissioner Blake Wilkens, who wasn’t pres- ent at the meeting, will serve on the Dakota Prai- ries Resource Conservation and Development Board and the Lewis and Clark Regional Development

They also voted to have

Husfloen continue to serve as the Commission’s chair- man, and Berger will serve as the vice-chairman.

The next Oliver County Commission meeting will take place in the court- house in Center at 8 a.m. CST on Thursday, Feb. 3.

In other business, the Oliver County Commis- sion:

• Approved the Security First Bank of North Dakota as the county depository, or the location where the county deposits its money.

• Increased the county’s mileage reimbursement rate from $0.56 per mile driven in 2021 to $0.585 in 2022. This increase was based off a state change in its mileage reimbursement rate.

• Discussed possible changes to the legal lan- guage of the county employ- ee handbook.

• Approved the North Dakota Highway Patrol monitoring Oliver County roads.

• Heard project updates from Carmen Reed, the emergency response coor- dinator, who said current projects were progress- ing smoothly and that she was working to get more grant money to fund other endeavors.

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