Crow Wing County’s total assessed property value decreased by $290 million from 2012 to 2013, according to figures released by the County Land Services Department.
Last year the 2012 assessment was reduced by $620 million.
Total assessed value of all properties in the county declined from $9.8 billion as of Jan. 2, 2012, to $9.5 billion on Jan. 2, 2013, according to the county’s 2013 assessment.
The county recently sent out valuation and classification notices to all property owners identifying the assessed value of the property as of Jan. 2, 2013, based on sales of comparable properties during the period October 2011 through September 2012.
Gary Griffin, Land Services Supervisor for property valuation and classification, noted that an overall decline in value does not mean all properties have declined in value.
“Each property value is established based on actual sales that occurred in the marketplace. If comparable properties in a neighborhood during the study period sold for more, valuations will be higher; if comparable nearby properties sold for less, valuations go down,” he said.
He said state Department of Revenue rules determine the process counties must follow to determine assessed values.
“State rules don’t allow us to consider foreclosure sales, sales between relatives, government sales or other sales that are not considered arms length transactions. This really limits the number of sales we can use for comparables in today’s market,” Griffin said.
In addition, state rules require assessed values to fall within a statistical range, which is between 90 percent and 105 percent of what comparable properties actually sold for. If the assessed value is outside that range, the state requires all property values to be raised or lowered accordingly.
Griffin also pointed out that lower assessed values do not necessarily mean lower taxes, unless government spending at the county, city, township and school district levels decreases.
“Government spending, not assessed value, drives what taxes are due and payable on property,” he said.
Assessed values are determined by sales of similar properties in the marketplace without regard to tax rates. Local units of government determine how much they need to run their operation — values are only used to determine how big a share of that pie each property represents.
Griffin noted that the county reduced its tax levy by .4 percent for 2013.
Taxpayers are encouraged to contact Griffin’s office with any questions about valuation and classification notices. Call 218-824-1010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, visit the website at www.crowwing.us.