May 8th, 2015 Mandan Property Value Crisis Illustrates The Continued Unmet Need For Property Tax Reform ========== Click here to listen to the one

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May 8th, 2015

Mandan Property Value Crisis Illustrates The Continued Unmet Need For Property Tax Reform


Several years ago, the City of Mandan was essentially ordered by the state board of tax equalization to individually re-assess every property in the city because the full process had not been done for a few decades.

Now, residents of Mandan are feeling the full force of that action and it may be getting ugly.

Over 4,500 home-owners were notified that their home values were going up - some drastically.
After receiving the full database of property changes, I was able to break down what is really going on in Mandan.

The AVERAGE home value increased by 24%. Some properties more than doubled.

By removing commercial properties and properties still on their initial 2-year exemption for new builds, the number of existing residential properties subject to a valuation increase over 10% is 3,450 properties.

Here is how those numbers look:

Mandan Property Values 1

On the surface, just the raw numbers are bad enough, but when the data is broken down by home value it gets even worse:

Mandan Property Values 2

According to the property value records obtained from the Mandan City Assessor, low-value properties, which are generally owned by lower income residents or serve as rental properties to lower-income folks, are taking a disproportional hit from this revaluation.

Middle-income folks with homes between $100,000 and $350,000 are seeing their valuations near the overall average. However low value homes are seeing increases, on average, nearly twice as high as the average middle-income properties.

What Needs To Happen Now

In order to make sure that the average property owner does not see massive property tax increases - the City of Mandan, Morton County, Mandan Park District, and the Mandan School District must collectively reduce their mill levy by 24%. Some people will still see steep increases, but a mill levy reduction of this amount will at least buffer the valuation increases.

This also will have the added benefit putting Mandan on par with Bismarck's mill levy rate - which has historically been about 25% higher in Mandan than Bismarck.

Mandan Property Values 3

The good news for Mandan residents is that the School Board has said they are going to "try" to remain revenue neutral. If that happens, Mandan School Board's tax levy will become considerably lower than Bismarck's.

Local residents will have to hold their officials to that.

If the City, County, and Parks all do their part - they will make Mandan far more competitive with Bismarck than any tax exemption for Walmart or sales tax increase could ever do. (More on that sales tax increase later.)

Local voters need to hold their city officials accountable to reduce their mill levies to minimize the pain Mandan experiences do to this property value surge.

If Mandan officials do not take this opportunity to equalize their mill levies with Bismarck, Mandan will have to deal with the long term economic consequences.


-Dustin Gawrylow, Managing Director

North Dakota Watchdog Network

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