County board OKs flood relief planPublished 11:27am Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Property tax relief is on its way for Otter Tail County homeowners who experienced severe flood damage in 2011. On Tuesday the county board of commissioners directed County Assessor Doug Walvatne and County Auditor Wayne Stein to implement the program, in conjunction with the state of Minnesota.
The program calls for some property valuations to be lowered. Calculations for property owners who have experienced severe water damage will be calculated on a case-by-case basis.
Property owners who experienced structural damage of more than 50 percent of the property’s value are eligible for an abatement of property taxes. The abatement is equal to the difference in net tax on the property, computed using the original market value for 2011 taxes.
“Our county, in order to receive state reimbursement, had to get prior approval from the State Executive Council,” said Walvatne. “We worked with members of the Governor’s Office, Lt. Governor’s Offices and others at the state level.”
Walvatne said that letters are going out to county residents this week. Qualifying homeowners can fill out forms and return them to the County Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.
“This program is indeed good news for many residents throughout Otter Tail County,” said Commissioner Lee Rogness following the vote by the five-person board.
Tax abatement and tax credit programs are in place to help homeowners. The credit program will assist property owners who have home values that apply to the calendar year 2012.
If the county approves the individual requests, the property taxes are abated and the county notifies the state. Local units of government are reimbursed by the state for the loss of revenues due to the abatement.
Non-homestead tax credits will also be issued, if owners meet certain criteria. Local taxing districts may levy for any unreimbursed tax dollars lost as a result of the granted reductions.