The Langdon City Commission discussed their options in regards to having another assessor review the 2015 residential assessments.
Posted on 7/11/15
By Melissa Anderson
The commission met with Jerry Ratzlaff, the County Tax Assessor for Ramsey County, and discussed at length the assessing programs that are commonly used in the area as well as Ratzlaff himself reviewing and comparing the assessments.
Over the course of the discussion, the topics were primarily on the computer assessing program that Ratzlaff and many other counties use which is Vanguard. The city had previously received a quote from Vanguard on the cost of switching to their program.
“It’s just a matter of whether you want to put your own parcel data on it or have them do it. If they do it, it’s more expensive but faster,” Ratzlaff explained.
Ratzlaff informed the commission that he had contacted Langdon City Assessor Mel Carsen about this issue but felt that until he looked at the data himself he would not know the extent of the situation. Ratzlaff did state to the commission that correcting any mistakes in the assessments was very important.
Commission Chair Charles “Chuck” Downs asked Ratzlaff if entering the current data into the Vanguard program would result in a different outcome. Ratzlaff explained that if you put wrong information in, you are going to get wrong values. Inputting correct data is very important.
“To get a fair assessment, you would have to reassess,” Ratzlaff stated.
Langdon City Attorney Cameron Sillers explained to Ratzlaff that the City of Langdon needs to have a plan of some kind to address the itsassessments and present the plan to the Cavalier County Commission by August 3.
After the reason for the consult was clarified, Ratzlaff stated that Vanguard would be a good way to go and that randomly comparing homes through the Vanguard program would more than likely satisfy the county.
The commission, Sillers, and Ratzlaff agreed that randomly comparing 20 to 25 properties in the City of Langdon to other comparable homes through the Vanguard program would be a good way to either validate the assessments done by Carsen or prove that there is indeed some major mistakes that requires an entire re-assessment of the city.
Sillers believed that commission members should be the ones to pick the properties for the comparison. Ratzlaff informed the commission that he would see if it was possible to borrow or lease the Vanguard program from the City of Cando or if Vanguard would be willing to demo the program to the City of Langdon for this task. Ratzlaff encouraged the commission to consider purchasing the program as the program would speed up the process and make if possible to re-assess a good part of the city by this time next year.
The commission met with Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA) Executive Director Shannon Duerr to discuss the expansion of the Renaissance Zone. Duerr explained that recent state legislation will allow the City of Langdon to expand their renaissance zone an additional 10 blocks. Duerr gave the commission maps and asked that they begin thinking of which direction they would like to expand. Duerr suggested either along the highway to encourage business development or within the residential area to assist in the remodeling of homes.
In Other Business
• CCJDA requested grant funding for Josh Plummer’s new touchless car wash business. The request for $30,000 was approved by the CCJDA board and the city commission.
• Josh Plummer requested a renaissance zone approval for the building of his new touchless car wash business on the vacant lot located behind the Schroeder Furniture Store. The request was approved pending a letter of good standing from the tax director.
• Downs informed his fellow commissioners of funding meetings he had attended for the proposed water project that the city commission is seeking to build. Downs explained that there were 83 other projects seeking funding at the ND State Water Commission and that the Langdon project sat somewhere in the 70’s as a low priority. In the USDA Rural Development meeting there were 13 other requests for funding.