Frustration Over Some St. Louis County Property Valuations

Ryan Juntti
Updated: May 18, 2018 11:29 AM

Community members showed up at the Duluth City Hall Council Chambers Wednesday afternoon, expressing their concerns over increased property valuations.

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St. Louis County admitted they made an error when calculating property valuations for some downtown Duluth commercial properties. The concerns were initially brought forward by downtown businesses, but a lot of residential homeowners came out to voice their concerns as well.

"I do not feel that I should have to pay property taxes on a structure that has no value," said Coleen Christensen, of Duluth.

Christensen said she found out in 2010 that there are encroachments on her Duluth property, and she wants the property lines adjusted. On top of that she also claims her property valuation also suggests the home could be sold, when she believes it has no value. 

"It's worth the land it sits on, is what it's worth," said Christensen.

She says she's spent years trying to get to the bottom of the issue.

"I feel bamboozled because I go from department to department, from office to office. I've paid out thousands of dollars in attorney's fees and I still am nowhere," said Christensen.  

Glenn Snyder, says he bought a two-bedroom home for $36,000 in 1990, and claims it has depreciated in value, yet he says his property valuation went up $6,800.

"The property's the same, nothing's been changed, it depreciated in value, and they upped the taxes. I won't be able to pay for these taxes," said Snyder. "This is totally absurd. $6,800 for one year increase. I don't see how that could be," he said.

Mary Garness, St. Louis County Public Records and Property Evaluations Director, says some mistakes were made in valuations of commercial properties, and she hopes by acknowledging the mistakes and addressing them now, that there will be more confidence in the county moving forward. 

"We want the community, the taxpayers, to trust in the system, and own up to our mistakes, and make corrections, and do a better job moving forward," said Garness.

Garness says property owners will be notified in the coming weeks as to any changes with property valuations. She also says the county is looking at ways to avoid making mistakes in the future.


Ryan Juntti

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