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Stutsman County Commission ponders hiring another assessor

A legislative bill that would increase training requirements for assessors prompted Stutsman County commissioners to discuss on Tuesday hiring an additional assessor at the county level.

Currently, some townships in Stutsman County have their own assessors and others contract with the county for assessing services for a fee.

Should the North Dakota Legislature pass the bill, however, township assessors would be required to undergo 180 hours of training initially and 10 hours per year afterward to remain certified.

That’s a significant increase over the initial current requirements of 24 hours of initial training and four hours each year afterward to remain certified.

“Most of those individuals who do the assessing for the townships now just don’t have the time or the resources to go to Bismarck for three weeks out of the year to get that training,” said Dustin Bakken, Stutsman County tax director.

In fact, 21 of the 22 township assessors in Stutsman County said they would quit if the new requirements are put in place, according to Bakken.

“What we’re thinking is possibly adding an assessor (at the county level) and not charging a fee anymore,” said Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, noting there are 17 townships already that contract with the county for assessment services.

The system in place now allows for all properties in the county to be assessed every four to six years, which is intended to prevent drastic changes in property valuation because the property’s value would keep up with the market value.

Should the county assume all assessing duties for the townships, there would be enough of a workload to require another assessor, Bradley said.

The bill will be heard by the North Dakota Legislature next year, he added.

In other news Tuesday, the commission:

* accepted a bid for roof work on the Law Enforcement Center for $71,170 from A&R Roofing of Fargo. The project could begin in May and would be completed by July.

* agreed polling place hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the day of the primary election on June 10.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

Kari Lucin

Kari Lucin joined the Grand Forks Herald as a multimedia producer in August 2014. Previously, she worked for a few years at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, N.D., as a staff writer, and prior to that, for about six years as staff writer and later online content coordinator, at the Daily Globe in Worthington, Minn. A graduate of Jackson County Central High School and Augsburg College, she has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English. Find more of her writing at her blog, Oh Look, a Shiny Thing! or on Twitter at @karilucin.

(701) 780-1119
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