Increase in property taxes leaving some ‘unbelievably shocked,’ Grand Forks resident says – Grand

GRAND FORKS — Many Grand Forks property owners are seeing increases to their property taxes this year.

A combination of increasing property valuation and budgetary increases across the board from the city, school district and county all are contributing to a higher tax bill for many on their estimated 2023 taxes.

Grand Forks resident Kim Szondy said her property taxes are more than what her siblings pay in the Twin Cities.

“My brother in West Saint Paul, who has a home value greater than mine, is $800-$1,000 cheaper than mine in Grand Forks,” Szondy said. “Rationally, I understand the need (for the rise); the other side is that an 18% increase is a lot to suck in.”

Szondy also said this is the highest increase she’s seen on her property taxes. She said her neighbors were “unbelievably shocked” when they received their estimated taxes in the mail last week.

Under the North Dakota Century Code, estimated property tax bills have to be sent by Aug. 31; the notices also serve as the public hearing notice for the budget. Those hearings will occur throughout September and October. After the public hearings take place, the budgets will be finalized and final bills sent out to property owners around Thanksgiving.

Property tax bills for next year are due by March 1, 2024, and if they’re paid in full before Feb. 15, a 5% discount will be applied.

Some of the increases can be attributed to increased capital expenditures.

A big capital project is the rebuilding of Valley Middle School,

which voters approved earlier this year.

The city, while its portion of the mill rate is going down, is seeing a $60 million increase in capital expenditures in its preliminary 2024 budget.

These projects include wastewater treatment plant upgrades, 47th Avenue and Interstate 29 interchange, and DeMers Avenue and 42nd Street Underpass

in addition to a cost-of-living increase and overhaul of the city’s pay grades.

Grand Forks County is also seeing a budget increase. At their preliminary budget meeting in July, county commissioners

had concerns about how the county will balance its budget in the near future.

Some of those increases can also be traced to the rising prices of homes in Grand Forks.

According to the city assessing department’s 2023 report to the city board of equalization, the median price of a home in Grand Forks has increased 54% since 2013. The average price of a home in 2013 was $149,400, in 2023 it was $230,000. In that time, the mill levy has dropped from 367.71 to 328.06 in 2022.

The mill levy is the total of the budgets of the city, county, school and park (and other entities that use property tax dollars in their budgets) divided by the total city value. It’s used as a multiplier to the taxable value of a property when taxes are calculated.

The effective tax rate is also going up from 1.48% to 1.60% for residential properties. Both the effective tax rate and city mill rate are comparable with other major North Dakota cities.

These estimates will be the topic at the public hearings on preliminary budgets throughout late September and early October. Residents will be able to voice their concerns to public officials at those meetings.

Szondy said Grand Forks has an affordability issue.

“People in Grand Forks cannot afford these increases,” Szondy said. “In Minnesota, if you make below a certain amount you can get a refund. North Dakota has no relief (based on income).”

Where the public hearings will take place:

  • The county will hold its public hearing on the budget at 4 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Grand Forks County Office Building. 
  • The city will hold its public hearing on the budget at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 during the City Council meeting. 
  • The school district will hold its public hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Mark Sanford Education Center. 
  • The Grand Forks Park District will hold its public hearing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Choice Health & Fitness Community Room; 4401 South 11th Street. 

Voigt covers city government in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

Read More: Increase in property taxes leaving some ‘unbelievably shocked,’ Grand Forks resident says – Grand

2023-09-03 11:51:02

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