At the June 18 meeting of the Fillmore County Board of Appeal and Equalization, 12 valuation appeals were heard. At the beginning of the meeting commissioners were sworn in, accepting their duties to serve on this board.
Brian Hoff, Land Records Director, and Cindy Blagsvedt, County Assessor, were present to answer questions. Hoff reviewed the role of the board and the duties of the board. All appellants either had to appeal at their local board first or were open book appellants appealing directly to the county board. The burden of proof is with the appellant.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue requires adjusted ratios to fall between 90 and 105%. There were 44 bareland sales over 34.5 acres resulting in a value increase of 5% for tillable land and a 10% increase for nontillable land. Woodland value increased 25%. Thirteen sales of building sites resulted in no valuation change. Two-hundred and sixty residences were sold countywide, resulting in increased residential valuations in most cities. Twelve commercial facilities were sold in the county, resulting in no change in valuation.
Market value for all townships totaled about $3,415,714,900 or a 5.68% increase in value over last year. Total value of properties in all cities was $1,067,710,200 or an 8.72% increase over last year. The total of all property in the county is valued at $4,483,425,100, which is a 6.39% increase over last year.
New construction was down in townships, but up in cities. The total new construction for all of the county was $20,067,300. This was more than $4 million less than the prior year, due to about $6 million less new construction in townships.
Twelve appeals were brought before the board. Eight of these were properties that had been reassessed and valuations were recommended to be lowered by a county appraiser. Reasons for reduced valuations ranged from coding changes for certain amenities, neighborhood adjustments, the degree to which a basement was finished, the value of a patio as opposed to a deck, property not classified properly, a quality level change, and an update of depreciation (for example: window condition, cracked garage floor, or severe mold).
For these eight properties the appraiser explained the reason for the valuation and recommended a reduced valuation. The property owners were not present, had been notified of the recommended reduced valuation, and had not expressed an objection to the recommended reduced valuation. After some questions and discussion, the board approved each of the reduced valuations individually.
Property owners were present for the other four appeals and were not satisfied with the valuation recommended by the appraiser.
A property in Chatfield had been given a reduction of about $40,000 due to a coding change for a three season porch and a neighborhood adjustment. Colleen Allen was not satisfied that the reduction was sufficient. The house was built in 2017 and originally valued at $424,400. The reduced valuation still had the value at $549,000. Allen noted listings of similar properties for sale that were listed considerably lower. Hoff said Chatfield had about a 19% increase in valuations due to a sales study. The board approved a valuation of $505,000 to reflect the sales study increase in the city.
A property in Wykoff was given a $6,400 reduction in value by the appraiser because of what had been considered a deck was really a patio and there was a coding change for an unfinished porch. Mark Burmeister said the home was purchased in 2015 for $72,500. The only upgrade in the house was a second bathroom. He had an appraisal done and the private appraiser gave it a value of $118,000, which was slightly lower than last year’s valuation. Blagsvedt noted that by state order valuations of properties in Wykoff will go up 5% because they fell below the 90% adjusted ratios. The board approved a valuation of $120,000. The valuation will be increased further by 5%, due to the state order.
Mark Hobert owns managed forest land in Jordan Township. He was surprised the value went up 25% and argued it wasn’t exactly woodland because it was in a 10-year DNR program for managed forests. Hoff said it still is considered to be woodland. A motion was approved that there will be no change in value.
Jacqueline Garnatz explained the value of her home in Spring Valley went up $12,000 from last year. The current assessment for the two bedroom home built in 1956 is $103,000. Nothing but normal maintenance has been done. Because none of the appraisers had reassessed the property, the board decided to reconvene the morning of June 25 at 9 a.m. before the regular county board meeting to make a decision on this property’s valuation.