Cass County Board: Road show brings commissioners to Powers Township
County seeks state to pay any property tax refunds given to Enbridge.
POWERS TOWNSHIP — The second “road show” meeting found the commissioners in Powers Township Tuesday, June 15, with commissioner Neal Gaalswyk absent.
County Administrator Josh Stevenson requested the board adopt a resolution with regard to recent property tax decisions concerning the market value of Enbridge Energy L.P.’s state-assessed property for assessment years 2012-2014 and 2015-2016. Enbridge Energy appealed the Department of Revenue’s valuations of its state-assessed property for assessment years 2012-2014 and for assessment years 2015-2016. On May 6, 2021, the tax court issued its final apportionable market value and order for judgment.
The decision of the court for the 2012 assessment year was appealed by the Department of Revenue, but all other assessment years were not appealed and will have the taxes recomputed. This may result in a refund being paid to Enbridge Energy along with accrued interest from the original date of payment.
The resolution Stevenson requested the board adopt requests the state of Minnesota pay any refunds, plus interest, on behalf of the county out of the State General Fund. The resolution identified this error in assessment was caused by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and this payment due to Enbridge Energy should be the responsibility of the state to rectify, similarly to how the county rectifies its own local abatements.
Stevenson said without a state payment solution, this would put a financial burden on Cass County and many of its local units of government, requiring them to resort to bonding and/or significantly increase taxes on all property owners. He also said many of the 13 counties impacted by this tax court decision have passed similar resolutions and submitted them to Minnesota legislative leaders for consideration.
Commissioner Bob Kangas motioned to adopt the resolution, with commissioner Scott Bruns seconding and all members present unanimously approving.
In other business, the county board:
Approved a request by County Engineer Darrick Anderson, who asked the board to approve an amended contract with North Country Overhead Door LLC to replace seven garage doors at the Walker Highway Department shop for $50,163.
Anderson said the request was approved last year for nine doors at a lower rate, but due to an increased bid coming in for the salt shed and brine facility only two of the doors were installed, with the installation of the other seven being delayed. Anderson said North Country Overhead Door agreed to hold its labor cost, but due to increased pricing on the materials the bid needed to be increased by 10% over the original bid. Board Chair Jeff Peterson asked if this project was put out for bids, with Anderson saying it was publicly bid last year and if it was put up for bid again then labor prices may be increased. The board unanimously approved the rate increase to North Country Overhead Door.
Approved a joint powers agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Mud Goose Wildlife Management Area/County Road 139 road improvement project.
Approved an agreement with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe on trails within Cass County right-of-way on County Highway 60 and County Highway 75.
Approved recommending to the city of Hackensack award Utility Systems of America the contract for the joint project in Hackensack on County Road 204 in the amount of $2,299,075.35 with the county’s portion being $997,685.
Adopted a resolution to submit the Mississippi River Headwaters Comprehensive Management Plant to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for final approval.
The next meetings are as follows: the annual planning work session, 9 a.m. Friday, June 25, at the Land Department meeting room in Backus; commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; and commissioner’s board meeting, 6 p.m. July 21 at Smoky Hollow Township, 8969 42nd St. NE, Swatara.