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Politics & Government

Bill would consolidate property tax increase notifications into one notice

The House Finance and Taxation Committee is studying a Senate-passed measure that would consolidate all statements of estimated property tax changes into one statement.

Right now, each taxing district sends notices of the changes – and tells taxpayers the time and place of hearings on those changes.  And those changes are often expressed in mills. The measure before the Committee would put all those notices together in one document, and would express changes in dollar amounts.

Cass County already does this. County Auditor Mike Montplaisir told the Committee for years, governments struggled with getting the taxpayer understandable information as to how the property tax bill would be affected.

"One of the things that brought it to a head was a Fargo school district meeting a couple of years ago," Montplaisir said. "A guy was irate because his taxes were going to go up $5000. I called up his parcel, and his taxes have never been $5000. And they never will be $5000.  The point was -- he didn't know. He got a notice of increased evaluation, and then he got a notcie from the school district that his taxes were going up. But he had no clue of how much they were going up."

North Dakota League of Cities Executive Director Blake Crosby told the Committee the taxpayer wants a straightforward, easy to understand form.

"They only want to know two things," Crosby said. "What did I pay last year, and what am I going to pay this year."

The Committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

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