Recently, a question came up regarding real estate taxes for 2011. A gentleman called to say that his taxes had gone up, and he wondered if the state had stopped paying the 75 mills to the North Dakota school districts that was started two years prior.
The answer, of course, is no. The State of North Dakota is still paying down the 75 mills to the school districts, which was approximately 17 percent of the tax bill in 2009. That reduction has remained in place thru 2010, 2011, and will also be in effect for 2012. The state has set enough money aside to take us through 2012 or until the next session in 2013. It will be reviewed again in the 2013 Session, and could be continued for additional years. It should be noted that the tax paid by the state to the school districts remains at 75 mills, and has not increased by any additional mill levy's reductions.
However, there is some increase in some tax entities, and reductions in others. For the most part, these are very small changes. For example, the taxes decreased approximately 1.5 mills in the Kindred School District, decreased approximately 2 mills in the Central Cass School District, and increased approximately 1.5 mills in the Fargo School District. The West Fargo School District, however, went up approximately 22 mills, largely due to a bond issue that passed in a 2011 election to construct new schools. For the most part, that is the major increase of taxes in Cass County, whether in Fargo, West Fargo, or rural Cass County.
That does not mean that city, township, park districts, and other entities did not change and possible accumulations may change your total taxes. A review of every possible tax situation is available thru the Cass County Auditor's Office in the Cass County Court House, or by obtaining the information on your computer by going to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can do a four-year comparison on your own property and see what your tax increase (or decrease) actually is.
I hope that everyone remembers that real estate taxes are a method of paying for services that you receive. Maintenance of your roads, snow removal, sewer and water line maintenance, police protection, fire departments, electricity for streetlights, school districts, park districts, weed and vector control, soil conservation districts, Garrison Diversion, state medical school, all county functions, beside city functions not included above. It is the best system available, and allows different areas to pay for some things necessary or desirable to their part of the community. One size does not fit all.
As always, your Legislative team wants to hear from you. You can contact us at: Senator Judy Lee, 282-6512, or email@example.com; Representative Kim Koppelman, 282-9267, or firstname.lastname@example.org; and Representative Alon Wieland, 282-9470, or email@example.com.