Despite low attendance, the Rugby City Council, acting as the city's tax equalization board, approved property tax assessment rolls for 2017 Tuesday evening in the Otter Tail Power Company Meeting Room.
Pierce County Tax Director Kelsey Siegler informed the board that for 2017, the values of agricultural land increased by 2 percent to be in line with state-provided valuations. Residential and commercial land valuations experienced no change, while residential structure was adjusted by 5 percent and commercial structure did not change. The true and full values for 2017 were over $117 million for residential, $257,151 for ag land and $48,440,881 for commercial, or a total of nearly $166 million. Compared to last year, valuations decreased by about $3.35 million.
Taxes from one mill for 2017 were $5,268.84 for residential, $12.86 for ag land and $2,422.04 for commercial, or a total of $7,703.84. The total is a $156.46 decrease from 2016 ($7,860.30).
Pierce County Tax Director Kelsey Siegler (right) speaks at a city tax equalization meeting Tuesday evening at the Otter Tail Power Company meeting room in Rugby. Also pictured: Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft (left) and Ward 3 Councilman Joey Berg.
Rugby resident Josh Mattson asked for clarification from the board on the valuation of his current home. Mattson said the value of his home increased by 14.21 percent while the value of other homes in his neighborhood did not. Siegler said that when Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Vanguard Appraisals was going around the county doing assessments and couldn't get into homes they made assumptions on style and condition of the home being assessed, and that some of those assessments were still being corrected. Mattson said he felt "like I'm being punished for buying a house."
Siegler said valuations are also based on grade and condition of the property.
"Personally I question what Vanguard did," Mattson said.
Rugby Mayor Arland Geiszler said that when the assessments were done, he was surprised by the increases in lot valuations.
"One thing that you need to realize is a lot of homes were undervalued for many years," Geiszler said. "I think these kind of meetings are good to have."
Siegler said the goal would be to have all assessed values to be at market value, and she would like to have property reassessments on a third of the city done each year.
The board approved 2017-18 new residence exemptions (which can be applied for up to $150,000 for two years on structures only) for Sheila & Larry Braaten and David Herfendal.
City tax equalization meetings are held on the second Tuesday in April of each year.
Absent for the meeting were City Attorney Bill Hartl, Ward 1 Councilman Bruce Allen Rheault, Ward 2 Councilman Randy Fossum and Ward 4 Councilman Chuck Longie.