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County Board of Equalization approves two Spider Lake appeals

On Tuesday, the Hubbard County Board of Equalization followed the county assessor’s recommendation of “no change” because no factual deficiencies or discrepancies were brought forth during the appeals process. There were only two exceptions.

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Hubbard County Government Center
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo, March 2020
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A large contingent of Spider Lake property owners appealed their 2022 valuations, either as a group or individually.

On Tuesday, June 21, the Hubbard County Board of Equalization followed the county assessor’s recommendation of “no change” because no factual deficiencies or discrepancies were brought forth during the appeals process.

There were only two exceptions.

The board decreased the value on Ed and Maureen Waltman’s residential homestead from $500,000 to $426,800. The county assessor noted there is a 40-foot drop to Spider Lake. There are two residential structures on the property. The bedrooms in the garage do not have plumbing or running water, so it was deemed a bunkhouse instead.

In the second case, Gene and Judith Haldorson’s seasonal home was adjusted from $426,100 to $409,300. Originally, the home was valued as a one-story over a basement, but it was discovered the basement is only under a portion of the home.

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Legally, no action could be taken for Barbara Durgin, the Richard B. Hoium Trust, James Massee or John and Marlene Weber because they did not bring their original appeal to Mantrap Township Local Board of Equalization.

Assessor’s explanation

Hubbard County Assessor Jamie Freeman and Assistant County Assessor Maria Shepherd reminded the board that the Mantrap Township Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) lowered the estimated market values in excess of their statutory limitation of 1%.

As a result, the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) deemed all actions of the Mantrap Township LBAE as “null and void.”

Shepherd said that county staff did inform the LBAE of the 1% threshold. When staff submitted the LBAE’s decisions to DOR, as required, a warning was issued that the appeals exceeded the limitation.

“At that point, there’s nothing we can do,” Shepherd said. “We were not hiding the information. We did not know until we hit ‘Submit.’”

Mantrap Township had 20 properties that sold and qualified for the sales study period (Oct. 2020-Sept. 2021).

“Our beginning median ratio was 67.7% in that district,” for both on- and off-water properties, Shepherd said.

In order to be compliant with the state, estimated market values must fall between 90% and 105% of what the property is selling for.

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Shepherd explained that, after staff made adjustments, the median ratio was 95.25%.

“That is one of the lower ratios that we have in the county,” she continued. “I want you to keep in mind that these changes are big, but we did the bare minimum we had to do to get Mantrap Township into compliance.”

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Of the 14 residential/seasonal properties that sold during the study period, four were on Spider Lake. Owl Lake and Middle Crooked each had two sales, while Big Mantrap, East Crooked, Little Sand, Sand River, Upper Bottle and West Crooked each had one sale.
Courtesy of Hubbard County Assessor Department

Of the 14 residential/seasonal properties that sold during the study period, four were on Spider Lake. Owl Lake and Middle Crooked each had two sales, while Big Mantrap, East Crooked, Little Sand, Sand River, Upper Bottle and West Crooked each had one sale.

“One sale does not indicate a market to us,” Shepherd said, rather, for these “we will probably do a three- or five-year look back to see historically where we’re at. Do we need to increase? Do we need to decrease?”

The appellants sought a reduction in per foot of shoreline rate. They asked that the 40% increase drop to 20%. The county assessor’s department said that would result in the median ratio falling below the required 90 to 105%, bringing the county out of compliance.

Shepherd said Spider Lake did not see the highest shoreline rate increase in the county – Third Crow Wing Lake, in fact, saw a 45% increase.

Potato Lake did not see a neighborhood rate increase because after making the two countywide rate increases, its median ratio rose from 79.39% to 100%.

Shepherd pointed out that four parcels on Spider Lake currently listed for sale have prices that are double their current estimated market value.

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Shoreline value per foot comparison

The county assessor presented these figures to the county board of equalization on Tuesday, June 21.

  • Fish Hook Lake: $960 (Henrietta Twp.), $1,060 (Todd Twp.) and $1,550 (City of Park Rapids)
  • Mantrap Lake: $650 (Clay Twp.) and $1,315 (Mantrap Twp.)
  • Middle Crooked: $475
  • West Crooked: $550
  • East Crooked: $570
  • Gilmore: $530
  • Lake George: $670
  • Spider Lake: $1,155
  • 1st Crow Wing Lake: $840
  • 2nd Crow Wing Lake: $900
  • 3rd Crow Wing Lake: $1,090
  • 10th Crow wing Lake: $630
  • 11th Crow Wing Lake: $870
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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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