It seems like every year, residents show up at the annual Country Truth in Taxation public hearing in early December to contest their property values. However, that process of appeal actually takes place in the spring and the first step in the process began this morning.
At its meeting today, the Wright County Board of Commissioners approved seeing the date of the annual County Board of Equalization to start at 4 p.m. Monday, June 14 by appointment only.
Wright County Assessor Tony Rasmuson said the County Board of Equalization is the last step in the process and the first deadline is approaching – making sure that at least one member of the Local Boards of Appeal in all Wright County cities and townships and successfully completed training – a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1.
“If a district – a city or township – doesn’t have a trained member certified by taking the free online course through the Minnesota Department of Revenue, they lose their ability to do much of anything at the local board of appeal meeting,” Rasmuson said. “Anyone in a district who has an appeal would have to go to the County Board of Equalization. They lose their powers to change any values or classifications at that point. That’s why we’re trying to get the word out to the Local Boards of Appeal that, if they don’t have a member who is trained, they still have until 5 p.m. Feb. 1 to do so. Once you’re trained, you’re good for four years.”
Currently, the Wright County Board of Commissioners has two trained members – Darek Vetsch and Mark Daleiden. All that is required is one, but Rasmuson said as many people who can go through the training is recommended, since it provides the participant a much better understanding of how the program works.
Rasmuson explained that there are three levels of disputing a property value. There is the informal level of appeal, which is contacting the County Assessor’s Office, where it can be double-checked to make sure an error wasn’t committed. A Local Board of Appeal is available in some cities and townships that conduct annual meetings at their respective City or Township Hall. A third option is an “Open Book Meeting,” which bypasses the Local Board of Appeal and sends any contested property value directly to the County Board of Equalization. If a city or township does have a Local Board of Appeal that meets on a specific date (almost all in April), a resident with a dispute must file the appeal at the local meeting to potentially have an appeal heard at the county level. Failure to do so takes away the ability to challenge a valuation at the Board of Equalization.
Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the Local Boards of Appeal were conducted remotely. Rasmuson said the waiting game is being played to see if the situation changes between now and April, but, given the success of the plan following state and Minnesota Department of Health guidance, it remains a solid Plan B if restrictions remain in place.
For those interested in taking the free course, it can be accessed at the following link: https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/2021-01/Module%208%20-%20Assessment%20Review%2C%20Appeals-Equalization%20and%20Correction.pdf. Those with questions about this process can contact the Wright County Assessor’s Office at (763) 682-7367.