MINOT – Farmers will see an increase in their taxes of almost seven percent due to the County Commissioners’ vote Tuesday.
Noreen Barton, director of tax equalization, said she is required by the North Dakota Century Code to certify to the Commissioners each year the average agricultural value per acre of the county.
“Ward County has historically adopted a four to five percent deviation for the minimum allowed tolerance level,” said Barton.
Ward County’s 2023 certified average value per acre from the State Tax Commissioner is $644.77 per acre, said Barton. The Land Use Committee recommended the County adopt 92.5% of that, coming to about $596.41 per acre, and Barton recommended 94%, coming to about $606.08 per acre.
Barton’s recommendation would be an increase of a little over 6.7%, and the Land Use Committee’s recommendation would be an increase of a little over five percent.
“Ward County’s current average value per acre is $567.95, as equalized by County Commissioners in 2022, which represents 88.09% compliance in relation to 2023 certified valuation from the Tax Commissioner,” said Barton. “I usually lean at 94% for each classification, for residential, commercial, and ag, just so the tax is divided evenly across the county. Just so we don’t fall below the tolerance level or go above the tolerance level.”
“I’m personally comfortable with the 92 and a half,” said Chairman John Fjeldahl, who was on the Land Use Committee when it made the decision. “The rationale behind this was, we see up and down trends, and we’re about to see a correction here, and I can imagine we’re about to see it come down.”
“This is the biggest jump since I’ve been in this position,” said Barton. “I know for sure the last two years since I’ve been doing ag land values, this has been the biggest jump.”
The motion to adopt Barton’s recommendation passed, with Commissioner Howard Anderson joining Fjeldahl in voting no.
The Commissioners also unanimously voted to join with the City on applying for a Rebuilding American Infastrucure with Sustainablilty and Equity grant for phase one and two of the southwest connector project. It costs around $30,000 for the application process, planned to be divided equally between the City and County, the deadline of which is the end of February. The City will vote on it Tuesday.
If RAISE funds are granted, they will be used for environmental and feasibility studies, public input, and similar setups for the project. The connector is projected to cost $60-70 million. A presentation on it was given to the Commissioners back in August, which can be read here.
The Commissioners also unanimously voted to improve the Minot to Burlington multi use path, some parts of which are over 20 years old. This is projected to cost around $747,000 from the county construction budget.