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COOK COUNTY CONNECTIONS Adjusting Property Values & Assessment Equalization 3 Part

COOK COUNTY CONNECTIONS Adjusting Property Values & Assessment Equalization 3 Part

By: Bob Thompson, Cook County Assessor 3rd of 3 Part Series

COOK COUNTRY, MINNESOTA   July 30, 2021  (LSNews)  COOK COUNTRY, MINNESOTA   August 2 0, 2021  (LSNews)  In the last of my three-part article, the content is a little more personal. After all, the intent of these articles is to create a connection between Cook County staff and the residents and visitors of the county.

I’m Bob Thompson and I was appointed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners to the position of County Assessor in June 2019. I grew up the second-to-the-youngest of seven siblings in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Of the seven of us, all but one has made a career of property valuation and assessment. I moved to Cook County from Tonka Bay, Minnesota, in October 2016, to take a job in the Assessor’s Office as a Field Appraiser.

Outside of our community outreach, one would have to search for news related to property tax assessments. In Minnesota, you may find that there is a lot of news related to office turnover and a few articles exist on the implementation of new assessment technology, with possibly one of the biggest stories being the Enbridge lawsuit that could have potentially bankrupted some small townships in Northern Minnesota.

Cook County has had its share of the media spotlight in recent years. Roughly two weeks prior to my appointment, the county received news that it would lose a significant portion of federal payments related to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), due to a decline in property value. A month prior to that, the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDOR) issued a memo to all Minnesota Assessors to classify short-term rental properties (aka vacation rentals) as a commercial use for property taxes.

Unchallenged, the BWCA reappraisal would have amounted to a significant shift of tax burden to Cook County taxpayers. Under the Thye-Blatnik Act of 1948, the BWCA is appraised every ten years by an unbiased appraiser to establish payments to the local counties for lost property tax revenue on the lands. The 2018 appraisal reflected a 37% decline in value from the prior appraisal which had been completed in 2008 when the real estate market was at a peak. Three counties, including Cook County, worked tirelessly to refute the 2018 appraisal and its determinations as inaccurate. The US Forest Service has ordered a reappraisal of the BWCA and the three affected counties have now met with the new appraiser to provide their perspective on the valuation process. The reappraisal is a major victory for Cook County taxpayers.

The MDOR memo related to vacation rentals caused many local employers to worry that their business models may no longer be feasible. In addition, roughly $170 million in Cook County real estate would have their property tax bill more than double. Classifying short-term rental properties in Minnesota was later addressed by state lawmakers in a special session in 2020. The new law that took effect January 2021 followed the resolution put forth by Cook County Commissioners verbatim, to classify these properties as residential (versus seasonal or commercial). The new law was considered by many as a win for all, owners of vacation rental properties averted future commercial classifications and all non-rental properties benefited by the increase over the historic ‘seasonal’ classification, to residential.

These two scenarios are perfect examples of why property taxes do not solely hinge on the valuation of the property in question. There are many moving parts that affect your tax bill.

As your County Assessor, I am working day-in and day-out to fairly apply property tax laws and establish fair market value on all properties. When the system is implemented correctly, the property tax burden is distributed fairly, according to state law. I am passionate about doing my job well and I take issues like the BWCA appraisal seriously. Even though I am not a property owner, I advocate for each of you in that process. I will continue to apply myself and my expertise for many years to come in the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

If you would like to make a connection with me, feel free to contact the Cook County Assessor’s Office at 218-387-3650. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you are a Cook County resident, several options that provide financial relief from rent and/or property taxes may exist. Talk to your tax professional or visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website for more information on the ‘M1PR’ form.

By: Bob Thompson, Cook County Assessor

#LSN_News #LSN_MNNews #LSN_CookCounty 

About Cook County Minnesota 

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Cook Country Minnesota Lake Superior News

Cook County is at the tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead region in the remote northeastern part of the state, stretching from the shores of Lake Superior to the US-Canada border. By land it borders Ontario, Canada to the north, and Lake County, MN to the west.  The highest point in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain is 2,301 feet and the highest lake,  Total Area equals 3,339.72 sq miles

Cook County is home to three national protected areas:
Grand Portage National Monument
Superior National Forest
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Cook County include:
 Grand Marais     Lutsen Mountains
 Gunflint Trail      Superior Hiking Trail
 Grand Portage 

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Robert McKenzie 0 2438 Article rating: No rating

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