Property Tax Assessment Issues in Rural Duluth

Posted at: 05/08/2013 5:54 PM
Updated at: 05/08/2013 6:22 PM

Some property owners in Fredenberg Township north of Duluth are upset about their property tax assessments. Some folks said they have gone up by $50,000.

And those could be mistakes, according to assessors. Jan Jackson, a private assessor who contracts with the county, acknowledges there have been mistakes made with some assessments. She said it's partially because of a transition with computer systems. But she and the county assured the Fredenberg Town Board of Supervisors on Wednesday at the yearly equalization and appeal meeting, that they will be fixing the problems.

Lakeshore owners aren't supposed to have seen any increases in this year's statements, according to the assessor and the county. But some have.

"We're seeing many lake owners who are reporting a rise, when they shouldn't," said Clay Cich, a town board supervisor. But now that the problem has been addressed, he feels like it will be taken care of.

Cory Leinwander, an assistant St. Louis County inspector, said he will be checking the other lakeshore owners' values, to see if any other mistakes need to be fixed.

"We've also hired an auditor for our entire office, including the local contractors. We're taking a look at all of the properties, to see if there's any ommitted values," he said. "This is about equalization, people should only pay their fair share."

Folks who own property off the lake did see a 4% increase, which was a result of assessments being lower than recent sales. To meet a state standard, the assessments needed to be raised, according to Leinwander.

The equalization board will meet again next Friday, because another 20 or so properties may need adjusting.