The Cavalier County Commission held a regular meeting on Tuesday, February 5 that had a myriad of agenda items. The two most prominent items were abatements.
By Melissa Anderson
The first abatement was located in Nekoma and was filed for the Osnabrock Co-Op Elevator. General manager Josh Schaefer represented the elevator and explained the reason for seeking the abatement. Schaefer informed the Commission that the assessment for 2018 of over $22 million was the result of clerical error. The error occurred when the previous year’s assessment of approximately $12 million was added to the new true and full value assessed by Vanguard of $9.7 million. Cavalier County tax director Steph Bata agreed that this was what occurred and gave the elevator the over $20 million value.
The City of Nekoma, when reviewing the case, agreed that the value was too high, however, they sent the abatement to the County Commissioners after concerns were raised about perimeter inconsistencies. The city proposed a return to the $12 million value that had been assigned in years prior.
Schaefer asked the Commission if other assessed properties were not being taxed at the Vanguard assessed values. The Commission responded that some properties are being taxed higher than they were assessed. There was also discussion of how other elevators in the county had been assessed including depreciation of the structure and per bushel storage.
Bata had been in contact with Vanguard to find a good compromise for the value. Vanguard suggested changing the grade from 4 to 3 which would raise the Vanguard appraised value to approximately $10.7 million. Commissioner Stanley Dick motioned for the new assessed value to be applied to the elevator. Commissioner Greg Goodman agreed that this would be a good compromise for all. A roll call vote was held with Nick Moser voting “no” and the rest voting “yes”. Commissioner Austin Lafrenz was not present to cast a vote.
The second abatement was for land located in Fremont Township. The land had been valued at $38,500. The landowner, John Ermer, had been in contact with Bata last fall informing her that there was 30 acres of that particular parcel enrolled in native woodland. Bata confirmed that the owner had been in contact and that the error occurred due to updating done by Sidwell. Ermer requested that the property be reduced to in value to $33,100 and provided documentation to support. The Commission approved the abatement.
Bata had an update on the Soils Committee and informed them that the county is now at 97 percent compliance with the state century code in terms of taxation values for the county. Bata explained how the values and changes are made using satellite images.
In Other Business
The Commission reviewed the two candidates for the open Cavalier County Job Development Authority board. Jeff Stanley, the new CEO of Cavalier County Memorial Hospital, expressed interest in being on the board as well as Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth. The Commission chose Stanley based on the recommendation of the JDA board as CCMH is a primary employer in the area and there are already two City Commissioners on the board.
Clerk of Court Anita Beauchamp presented her department update as well as explaining what her office duties are to the new Commissioners.
The vehicle use policy that had been previously discussed with HR Officer Crystal Beggs was reviewed. Goodman had one suggestion for the policy and that was to put a time limit of 90 days for submitting reimbursement requests.