Property Tax Frustrations Brought to the County Budget Meeting
One man told commissioners he might move to Minnesota
FARGO, ND — People told Cass County leaders how they could be driven from their homes with the latest property tax increase.
It’s their main concern while commissioners begin to finalize the 2018 budget.
“It’s got me looking at moving to Moorhead because the property taxes are quite a bit lower there,” said Merrill Hinger of West Fargo.
Many property owners in Cass County got notices in the mail which said their property taxes are estimated to go up by double digits.
After waiting more than an hour for other agenda items to wrap up, several people voiced their anger.
“Nothing about what you’re talking about up here would get done if the taxpayers didn’t pay those taxes,” said Mike Welsh, a Deer Creek Neighborhood resident.
Property owners unable to attend sent letters from as far as Argusville, begging commissioners to rethink the tax increase.
“I’m basically working 18 hours a day just to make things work here,” said Robin Kittelson of the Pontiac Township. “I’m 54. I don’t want to do work like that that hard all the time.”
“You need to show up and vote for the right people if you think the taxes are too high,” Commissioner Chad Peterson told the crowd.
“Over the last couple years, I’ve seen my house payment go up by $400 a month,” Hinger said. “It’s fairly painful.”
“We don’t have a lot of control over federal programs which is social services,” Peterson said. “That’s 154 employees, that’s almost a third of our employees that we have no control over really. I wish that I could make ten percent off the budget and make it go away.”
Commissioners said the state legislature and rising property values are to blame for much of the tax hikes.
They also proposed changing the positions of Auditor, Treasurer and Recorder from elected to appointed positions.
It passed by four to one.