What started in 2015 with the City of Langdon assessments of properties being found incorrect and residents expressing their anger of the unfair and unequal values of their properties, will finally be put to rest this summer as Vanguard Appraisals, Inc. begins the reassessment process.
By Melissa Anderson
“The door-to-door inspections of all residential & commercial properties in Cavalier County will begin approximately June 5, 2017 starting with the commercial businesses in the City of Langdon,” Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz said.
The Cavalier County Commission, following a directive given to them from the Office of the North Dakota State Tax Commissioner, made the decision to have the entire county re-appraised following the concerns raised and discovery of out-of-date information on properties located in Cavalier County.
“The purpose of the reappraisal program is to equalize property assessments so that each taxpayer is responsible for paying only his or her fair share of the property tax burden,” Lafrenz stated.
The choice to go with Vanguard Appraisals, Inc. to handle the task of reassessment was not taken lightly. The company, originally started in 1968 and based in Iowa, covers seven states including: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
Vanguard has already assisted several communities and counties in North Dakota with re-assessing their properties. Since 2010, Vanguard has assessed seven cities and 17 counties with many more still scheduled to be completed. Vanguard not only offers assessment services, but their assessment software is noted as being one of the best in the industry and a preferred management system in the state.
As Vanguard begins the assessment process they will keep the Office of the Cavalier County Tax Director informed, and the tax director will notify assessors and townships, city auditors, chairmans and supervisors of the approximate dates the Vanguard team will be in their area.
Property owners are asked to cooperate by allowing a complete inspection of their property and providing accurate information so that a fair and equitable assessment may be determined for each property.
“It is the property owners’ choice as to whether or not they let Vanguard in, however, if they do not let them they will be assessed whatever Vanguard feels is a fair value,” Lafrenz explained.
If there is no one at the property, specifically rural properties, Vanguard will leave a door hanger that provides a telephone number on the hanger so the owner can call and set up an appointment to let Vanguard inside their residence or commercial business.
If the property owner chooses not to let Vanguard into the home, the owner will not have the opportunity to question the value. The owner will have to be content with whatever value Vanguard places on the structure.
Information to be collected includes type of construction, type of interior finish, physical condition of the property, age of structures and exterior measurements. A complete sales analysis, local construction costs and economic conditions are also considered.
“No estimate of value will be given at the time of inspection,” Lafrenz stated.
The Vanguard team will work throughout the summer assessing properties in the county and will have a thorough review of the assessed values in the fall. The project is scheduled for completion December 31, 2017.
“Notice of final value estimates will be mailed to each property owner after February 1, 2018,” Lafrenz stated.
Property owners will have an opportunity to meet informally to discuss their revaluation in the spring if they are not satisfied with the values that were given. It should be noted that the property owner will have a better argument for their property provided they did allow Vanguard inside of their homes. Vanguard will provide up to 32 hours of informal hearings. Should hearings exceed that time limit, a charge of $150 per hour will be levied to the county.
“The new assessed values will be effective for the February 1, 2018 assessment date. These will be on the tax statements that will be mailed out by the county treasurer in December of 2018,” Lafrenz said.
The Vanguard reassessment will be billed out per parcel to the townships/cities. The county has given the townships and cities five years interest free to pay for the reassessment. The county will finance the cost for the townships/cities that do not pay in full after the five years is up.
• Vacant city lots will be charged approximately $15 per lot.
• Residential lots with a structure will be charged approximately $150.
• Commercial lots with structures will be charged approximately $300.