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Grand Forks County, ND, OKs contentious farmland valuations

The Grand Forks County Board of Equalization gave the green light to highly contentious farmland valuations at a meeting Tuesday. The average valuation will be about 1 percent less than the 2013 average. But about a dozen landowners who came to t...

The Grand Forks County Board of Equalization gave the green light to highly contentious farmland valuations at a meeting Tuesday.

The average valuation will be about 1 percent less than the 2013 average.

But about a dozen landowners who came to the meeting were still unhappy with the results because of the method used to get the numbers, which involved a more accurate soils map and the removal of modifiers that reduce valuations based on factors such as poor drainage.

Each township's valuation average was not available as of press time.

"This whole land valuation thing is an absolute disaster," board member John Schmisek said. "It's an absolute mess."

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Valuations initially much higher this spring. Owners of agricultural land throughout the county saw their valuations increase by an average of 10.5 percent. But the average increase in some townships, many on the western side of the county, was more than 40 percent.

That's important because valuations are part of the property tax formula.

After several heated meetings with landowners, the county commissioned a more accurate soils map and decided to not use modifiers saying they had been unfairly reported.

The board of equalization denied all appeals Tuesday, but landowners still have the chance to air their grievances to the State Board of Equalization.

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