City council reviews property tax assessments

In a property tax assessment review meeting—of course held electronically—Wadena County assessor Lee Brekke shared eight property owner’s questions on their payments due based on evaluations completed in January 2020. Otter Tail County appraiser Pam Moe had no questions or calls come in for the portion of Wadena in Otter Tail County.

The owners included:

  • Kamal and Nicholas Foley were concerned about their value and after not receiving a letter about the change they wanted, the council voted for no change.

  • AmericInn owner Dan Kellogg whose values increased $1,400 from the previous year. The council voted no change.

  • Walter Wiskal was concerned about the increased value of his property and wanted his name included if his neighbors received any reductions. The council voted no change.

  • Mark Hockert Hall had a value increase from $128,300 to $136,100, which he questioned since he does not use city water or sewer for the duplex. Brekke noted that these elements are included in the land value, which did not change. The council voted no change.

  • Darcy Properties, LLC requested a decrease of $20,800 due to the rents being recorded as higher than actual, according to Brekke. The apartment rent survey was initially not submitted and Brekke estimated the rents before receiving the updated rents on April 14. The council voted for the reduction.

  • LD Development Corps, LLC and Hunke Fuel Station, LLC received values for properties both say they are no longer leasing from the railroad. The information from the railroad stated they were leasing the properties and an update was not available by April 14. The council voted no change.

  • Richard Blank had a concern about his value from $45,900 last year to $25,900. The concern is unclear as Brekke said the truth in taxation form was unreadable. The council voted no change.

While Brekke heard from these owners in previous phone calls, letters or emails, Kellogg joined the meeting to share his concerns about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality and travel industry. Kellogg noted a revenue loss of $1,500 a day with the hotel at 14% occupancy.
With the losses from the pandemic in mind, Kellogg discussed external economic obsolescence, a term used when property values decrease because of external factors. He felt the decrease in business reflects a decreased value and wondered about a relief on property tax. Brekke said the values are from January, prior to the pandemic, and he doesn’t know how far to adjust values since many properties need support during this time. He added that values might change for next year and he will be reaching out to other counties and the Department of Revenue on these questions. Brekke and Kellogg also discussed the CARES Act and the paycheck protection program , which offers relief to small businesses in paying employees and other costs.

If you believe the value or classification of your property is incorrect, contact the Wadena County Assessor’s Office at 218-631-7628 to discuss your concerns.

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