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Rugby City Council considers citywide re-appraisal

By Staff | Oct 14, 2012

The Rugby City Council has asked for a contract from an Iowa firm to provide a re-appraisal of all the properties in the city.

At its Oct. 1 meeting, the council heard a proposal from Ryan Ehli of Vanguard Appraisals to perform a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) of all residential and commercial parcels in the city.

If the council decides to sign the contract, the re-appraisal wouldn’t happen until 2015 at an estimated cost of $198,710, which would be paid over a 5-year term.

The council asked if it was necessary to do the assessment, considering potential legislative changes to North Dakota law that could affect property taxes.

And even though the review would be more than two years in the future, Ehli said it’s always better to have accurate property assessments and said he would check on an escape clause in the contract if property taxes were at some point dissolved by the state.

Council members asked what the company would do if they aren’t allowed access to a property or the property owners can’t be reached. Ehli said the company makes three attempts to reach the homeowner before doing an assessment based mostly on an external review and comparable area properties.

The cost to assess residential properties would be $130 each with an estimated 1,050 buildings within city limits. Commercial properties would cost $285 per parcel with 206 properties estimated.

The Farmers Union Elevator and Rugby Manufacturing, which is considered a large industrial building, would each be assessed at a cost of $1,750.

Council members showed concern over the likelihood that an citywide assessment would likely raise property values and therefore the tax base for property owners.

Ehli said that doing a mass appraisal would allow all properties to be appraised accurately at the same time, providing an even field for all property owners.

He said company representatives would be available after the process to answer any questions or disagreements over the new appraisals.

Ehli said Vanguard has completed or is contracted to do a number of similar assessments in North Dakota counties or towns, including Bottineau and Towner County.

If the company is hired to do appraisals in Rugby, they would likely be done at approximately the same time in Pierce County.

In other city

council news…

The city council approved the 2013 budget of $528,966.96. Major items earmarked in the budget include $51,460 for city’s portion of social security and Medicare, $47,815.09 for the fire reserve and $41,000 for the library.

The council approved the building permit and a tax exemption for the new Cobblestone Hotel and Suites, which will break ground Thursday on the south side of Highway 2 near Dakota Farms.

It also agreed to annex outlots 403 and 404, also near Dakota Farms and decided to seperately annex an adjoining 60-foot piece for street access.

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