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The North Dakota House struck down a Minot legislator’s bill on property tax notice reform Wednesday. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
The North Dakota House struck down a Minot legislator’s bill on property tax notice reform Wednesday. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Property Tax Notice Reform Struck Down 

Lydia Hoverson
 January 12, 2023
 •

Fails in North Dakota House

lydia.hoverson@mydakotan.com  

BISMARCK – The North Dakota State House struck down a Minot legislator’s version of property tax reform Wednesday. 

Representative Larry Bellew, Dis. R-38, Minot and sponsor of House Bill 1126, described it as a reduction of the amount of assessment increase required to notify property owners of that increase. The bill, he said, would also give an estimation of property tax increase based on the previous year’s mill levy. 

In the current North Dakota Century Code, an increase of $3,000 and 10% or more on a property’s value would require the assessor to notify the owner. This bill would have removed the “and 10% or more.” 

“This bill will allow greater transparency for the property owner,” said Bellew. “I consider this bill to be a component of property tax reform that property owners in this state deserve.” 

Bellew pointed to Ward County, where he said many property taxes were increased by six percent, and not many notices were sent out. 

“My personal property assessment increased by $19,000 without being notified of the increase,” said Bellew. “Without knowing the increase, how can one appeal the assessment?” 

Bellew noted that the only opposition to the bill came from government agencies. 

“They say this will cause confusion to the property owner,” said Bellew. “I ask how? They also say that the property owner has the option to protest through the equalization process and can file an abatement. I say if one does not know that their value increased, how would they know what the process is for protesting or attending hearings on assessments?” 

Representative Craig Headland, R-Dis. 29. Montpelier and Chairman of the committee which recommended a Do Not Pass of 13-0, said he can agree and respect the intent of the bill. 

“But there’s a cost also associated with this,” said Headland. “Lowering the threshold to the levels that are stated in this bill would probably generate a notice, or at least in the past few years with inflation, would generate a notice to every property owner. There’s a cost to local political subdivisions.” 

Headland added that he doesn’t believe anyone in his committee, the House Finance and Taxation committee, is against transparency in property taxes. He said there is a bill coming to the committee that would provide clarity. 

“But sending a notice off to every property taxpayer every year is going to cloud the issue, because the notices are going to come so frequently that they’re going to lose their impact,” said Headland. 

Representative Dan Ruby, R-Dis. 38, Minot, noted that the committee could have amended the percentage or amount of increase stated in the bill. 

The bill failed 53 to 41. 

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