Tax Dispute in Mountrail County

Stanley, ND - A new system for figuring the value of farm and ranch land in an area county resulted in some landowners' property values shooting higher.
And those landowners are crying foul.
 
Jim Olson takes us to Mountrail County where the county commission is being asked to put the brakes on the new system.
 
(Jim Olson, KX News) Fred Evans owns the Triple T Ranch between Stanley and New Town.
 
(Fred Evans, Mountrail County Landowner) "Triple T Ranch - that's our place...Things Take Time."
 
(Jim Olson, KX News) But what he's hoping doesn't take too much time is reversing a new land valuation system in Mountrail County that has sent some land valuations soaring.
 
(Fred Evans, Mountrail County Landowner) "Now all of a sudden one township is up 128.3%? Red flags went up quick."
(Charlie Sorenson, Mountrail County Landowner) "We've seen cases where people's land has more-than doubled in value."
 
(Jim Olson, KX News) That's Charlie Sorenson who farms near Ross. He says the big changes happened when the county started using a soils analysis study as the basis for valuing property. He says that has created inverse relationships between land use and land values.
 
(Charlie Sorenson, Mountrail County Landowner) "We've had lands where parcels are side by side, with one parcel being clearly of more value than the one next to it, and the valuations come back opposite of that."
 
(Jim Olson, KX News) That's why Sorenson, Evans, and others are asking the Mountrail County Commission to ditch the new plan and revert to the 2016 valutations until the problems can be ironed out.
 
(Charlie Sorenson, Mountrail County Landowner) "We're looking for a method that acutally uses land use, and that's clearly stated in the North Dakota Century Code that land use must be considered. And then we are also asking that the county develop a soils committee to look after it and advise out county commission and tax department."
 
(Jim Olson, KX News) Commission Chairman Arlo Borud told the group the county has worked to keep property taxes level - even as the oil boom made the land more valuable.
And he said he was open to addressing the landowners' concerns
 
(Arlo Borud, Mountrail County Commission Chairman) "It's been a challenge but hopefully we have tried to do it in a reasonable way."
(Charlie Sorenson, Mountrail County Landowner) "By their mannerisms I think the commission is seeing what we are bringing forward to them. And going forward I think they're going to react positively toward that."
(Fred Evans, Mountrail County Landowner) "Get this train back on the tracks - that's what I told em."
 
In Stanley, Jim Olson, KX News.
 
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The landowners will make their case for changing the property valuation formula at the county equalization meeting in early June.

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