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County assessors’ duties clarified

Published (6/1/2010)
By Kris Berggren
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A new law is intended to help clear a bottleneck of appeals cases in property tax court.

Sponsored by Rep. Gail Kulick Jackson (DFL-Milaca) and Sen. Lisa Fobbe (DFL-Zimmerman), the new law clarifies the original 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.

The law is mostly effective May 15, 2010, for testimony offered and opinions or reports prepared in cases or proceedings that have not been finally resolved.

Jackson said that a strict reading of the earlier law in a 2009 appeals case, Shoppes of Woodbury v. Washington County, has prevented courts 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.

A section takes effect Aug. 1, 2010 that amends the division of duties between local and county assessors to provide that, if directed by the county assessor, the local assessor shall perform certain duties, such as performing appraisals, reviewing the original assessment and determining its accuracy or preparing an appraisal or report.

HF3147/ SF2885*/CH354

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