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Wadena County Board commissioners set final levy

Wadena County Auditor/Treasurer Charleen West presented to the Wadena County Board a resolution to certify the county's final 2011 levy. The total levy amount is $7,902,775, with $4,718,407 to general revenue, $1,367,743 to roads and bridges, $1,726,038 to Social Services and $90,587 to the library fund. The 2010/payable 2011 levy reflects a 2.9 percent increase from the 2009/2010 payable levy. The final levy remained the same as the proposed levy adopted Sept. 15.

Commissioners Stearns, Schermerhorn and Waldahl voted in favor of adopting the final levy; Commissioners Miller and Bounds opposed the adoption of the final levy.

Property tax concerns raised

Wadena County resident Jon Kangas came before the board to discuss concerns with the property tax system. Kangas said he does not feel that properties are being evaluated fairly and equally within the county. County Assessor Lee Brekke was present to address concerns. Kangas asked to board to address the practice of using up to five acres for a building site, as statutes generally refer to a building site and one acre of land to be assessed as the building site. Brekke explained that the practice of using up to five acres for a building site has been the county's practice for several years, though it is not in any current written policy. Other concerns included the classification of property and the assessment of property within city limits versus assessment of rural property. Brekke gave a brief summary of different property classifications and explained that the manner in which property is assessed is governed by state laws and guidelines, not by the county itself. Brekke, along with board members, will continue the process of ensuring that all property within the county is assessed equally and unwritten policies will be written and available to the public.