Local government units have been hitting the books, talking budgets and setting proposed tax levies. 

These proposed/preliminary levies are still subject to change as boards and councils continue to refine their budgets and hear comments from constituents. 

The final levy can be less than the proposed levy, but not more. 

What is a levy?

Property taxes are based on levies set by local governments (a.k.a. “taxing units”) and the value and classification of a property.  Local taxing units can include your county, township, school district and city or town. 

These local governments use property taxes to help pay for things like libraries, schools, roads, fire protection, police, public health, parks and other services. 

Typically, each property is taxed by several taxing units. For example, each property in Kanabec County is taxed by the county, a school district and a city or township.

Every September, each government unit reviews budgets and determines how much money they must levy from taxpayers to fund those budgets. 

Governments must first set a preliminary or proposed levy. This is used to estimate next year’s property taxes for each jurisdiction’s property owners. 

Final levies are approved before Dec. 31 and can be less than the preliminary levy, but not more. 

These levies determine (in part) how much property owners pay in property taxes in the year 2021.

Once a local government sets a property tax levy, it must be divided among that government’s total tax capacity (i.e. the total value of all the properties based on their market value and class rates).

Many factors affect a property tax bill. Determining how much each property owner owes and their role in it can be broken down into four stages detailed at right.

4 stages of property taxes

1. Valuing the   property

Minnesota property tax is divided among properties according to their value and classification. 

The estimated market value and classification of a property is determined by the Kanabec County Assessor’s Office as of Jan. 2 each year. 

The assessor uses historical sales in order to estimate each property’s market value.

The classification of a property is based on its use. Each class of property (residential, cabin, farm, commercial, etc.) has a different classification rate set by the Legislature. Some property types pay a greater share of the property tax than others. 

2. Protesting the values

Notice of valuation statements are sent out every year in March informing you of the value and classification of your property as of Jan. 2. The value is based on qualified sales from the prior Oct. 1-Sept. 30 sales period. 

If a property owner believes the value or classification of their property is incorrect, they should contact the assessor’s office right away.

If a property owner is not satisfied with the results of their visit with the assessor, they may take their complaint to the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization in April. 

Still not satisfied? Property owners can then take the valuation issue to the County Board of Appeal and then to Minnesota Tax Court. 

3. Adopting  levies

Each local government (city, township, school district, etc.) first determines how much money it needs to collect from property taxes. This amount is called the levy.

The levy is then spread among the taxpayers according to their property’s value and classification. 

The Preliminary or  Proposed Levy

In September, each local government must first set a preliminary or proposed levy. This is used to estimate next year’s taxes for Truth-in-Taxation notices.

Truth in Taxation

Every year between Nov. 10 and Nov. 25, all property owners receive a “Truth-in-Taxation” notice. 

This notice includes three things:

The valuation and classification information

The current-year property tax amounts

An estimate of how taxes may change  based on the local governments’ proposed levies

The notice also shows the schedule for local Truth-in-Taxation meetings. These meetings are designed for citizens to voice concerns regarding that unit’s budget and spending.  This is not the time to appeal market value or discuss individual property taxes. 

Approving the Final Levy

 After local governments hold their Truth-In-Taxation meetings, the unit must approve the final levy before Dec. 31. The final levy can be less than the proposed levy, but not more. 

4. Collecting  Taxes

The Kanabec County Treasurer’s Office mails a tax statement to each property owner by March 31 each year. 

Taxes are due in two, equal portions.

First payment due: May 15

Second payment due: October 15

(If agricultural, second payment is not due until  Nov. 15)

Local Preliminary Levies

Kanabec County

2021 Levy: $12,504,911

Proposed 2022 Levy: $13,027,905

Percent Change: + 4.2%

Truth-in-taxation meeting: 6 p.m. Dec. 9, in the Kanabec County Courthouse basement meeting room. 

Items of Note:  Employee compensation (wages) make up approximately 39% of the county’s overall budget. The county is currently negotiating four collective bargaining agreements and has yet to finalize the health insurance renewal for 2022.  The board of commissioners indicated they intend to further reduce the levy but the outcomes of these factors will be significant in determining the final levy amount. 

Scheduled capital technology and equipment replacement/upgrade expenses comprise another significant portion of the levy increase. 

The levy could be reduced depending on how the county finds ways to utilize funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, however the way these funds can be used is limited. 

City of Mora

2021 Levy: $1,076,635

Proposed 2022 Levy: $1,194,519

Percent Change: + 10.9%

Truth-in-taxation meeting: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mora City Hall

Items of Note: The 2022 preliminary levy shows a $117,884 increase over the 2021 final levy — a 10.9% increase. However, because  the City’s tax capacity has increased 5.79% from the previous year, the impact on the individual taxpayer will seem more like a 4.88% increase.

There is no increase for the Capital Improvement Plan and no increase to the General Fund. This year the city paid off some bonds for street reconstruction. The largest increase in the levy is due a debt levy for the Housing and Redevelopment Authority which the City is obligated to. 

City of Ogilvie

2021 Levy: $118,265

Proposed 2022 Levy: $139,246

Percent Change: +17.7%

Final budget meeting: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15, at the Ogilvie Civic Center. 

Items of Note: The majority of the levy increase is due to more money budgeted to street repairs, fire department needs and cost of living increases. City Clerk Heather Heins said the city aims to further refine their budget and reduce the levy to a 7% increase.

Mora School District (ISD 332)

2021 Levy:  $5,756,292

Proposed 2022 Levy: $5,941,611

Percent Change: +3.2%

Truth-in-taxation meeting: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Mora Elementary School commons area

Ogilvie School District (ISD 333)

2021 Levy:  $972,669

Proposed 2022 Levy: $969,745

Percent Change: -0.3%

Truth-in-taxation meeting: 6:01 p.m.  Dec. 6, Ogilvie School Board Room

City of Grasston

2021 Levy:  $13,800

Proposed 2022 Levy: $13,800

Percent Change: 0%

City of Quamba

2021 Levy: $35,500

Proposed 2022 Levy: $40,000

Percent Change: + 12.7%

Kanabec County ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

2020 Levy: $150,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $150,000

Percent Change: + 0%

EAST CENTRAL REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

2021 Levy:  $328,384

Proposed 2022 Levy: $333,310

Percent Change: +1.5%

Townships plan their levies and budgets differently than other government entities, typically having annual meetings and approve budgets on Township Day, the second Tuesday in March. 

Ann Lake Township

2021 Levy:  $79,780

Proposed 2022 Levy: $79,780

Percent Change: 0%

Arthur Township

2021 Levy:  $230,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $262,000

Percent Change: + 13.9%

Brunswick Township

2021 Levy:  $155,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $156,000

Percent Change: + 0.6%

Comfort Township

2021 Levy:  $150,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $155,000

Percent Change: + 3.3%

Ford Township

2021 Levy:  $91,510

Proposed 2022 Levy: $91,510

Percent Change: 0%

Grass Lake Township

2021 Levy:  $115,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $120,000

Percent Change: +4.3%

Haybrook Township

2021 Levy:  $74,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $79,000

Percent Change: 6.8%

Hillman Township

2021 Levy:  $71,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $71,000

Percent Change: +0%

Kanabec Township

2021 Levy: $95,728

Proposed 2022 Levy: $97,213

Percent Change: + 1.7%

Knife Lake Township

2021 Levy:  $123,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $123,000

Percent Change: +0%

Kroschel Township

2021 Levy:  $50,773

Proposed 2022 Levy: $50,773

Percent Change: +0%

Peace Township

2021 Levy:  $142,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $142,000

Percent Change: 0%

Pomroy Township

2021 Levy:  $120,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $120,000

Percent Change: 0%

southfork Township

2021 Levy:  $55,255

Proposed 2022 Levy: $56,677

Percent Change: +2.6%

Whited Township

2021 Levy:  $82,000

Proposed 2022 Levy: $82,000

Percent Change: + 0%

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