State wants to see changes in Swift County Assessor’s Office

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February 14 the Minnesota Department of Revenue was in Swift County to evaluate the operations and practice of the Swift County Assessor’s Office.
“Overall, it was a very positive review,” County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told county commissioners at their meeting March 4. “They noted vast improvements in the office over previous years. However, they did note that there are a number of areas that we need to improve on and recommended that the county consider adding staff in the department.
“Specifically, they recommended that the role of assessing properties in the county be transferred from the assessor to an appraiser,” he said. Their concern is that if the assessor is doing the appraisals, and there is an appeal, there could be a conflict of interest, he added.
How can it be a conflict of interest? Commissioner Gary Landmark, District 1-Appleton, asked.
In looking at the office’s appeals process, Knutson said that the Department of Revenue says it doesn’t like the county assessor doing the appraising and defending the appraisal at the township and city levels.
When property owners disagree with the assessed value placed on their property, they can appeal it during a hearing in the township or city where the property is located.

Photo: Swift County Assessor Wayne Knutson tells township officials at their annual meeting last Friday about the challenges ahead due to changing requirements to be a qualified assessor for real estate tax purposes.

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