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Minnesota Legislature

Assessors may testify on appraisals

Published (5/13/2010)
By Kris Berggren
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The property tax court has been waiting more than a year for the Legislature to act on a bill that could help resolve hundreds of appeals cases on hold, according to Rep. Gail Kulick Jackson (DFL-Milaca).

Awaiting action by the governor is HF3147/ SF2885*, a bill she sponsors with Sen. Lisa Fobbe (DFL-Zimmerman). Passed 110-24 by the House May 11, and 56-11 by the Senate March 29, it clarifies the intent of a 1993 law by specifically authorizing county assessors to perform property appraisals, prepare reports and testify before any court as an expert within the jurisdiction.

Jackson said that since a strict reading of the law in a 2009 appeals case, Shoppes of Woodbury v. Washington County, courts have been prevented from accepting county assessors’ expert testimony regarding property appraisals. Hiring outside appraisers is a costly alternative, adding an estimated $25,000 to the county’s cost.

“It’s clear the tax court wants us to do something, and that many cases are on hold,” said Jackson.

Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would have made the law apply to testimony offered, and opinions or reports prepared, for cases filed after the effective date. She was concerned about “the potential of changing the law in the middle of some court cases.”

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