County to discuss rural assessments

Published 10:58 am Monday, September 12, 2016

The Mower County board could make a decision on the way rural properties are assessed at its regularly schedule Tuesday morning meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. in the basement board room of the Mower County Government Center, 201 First St. NE.

The board could vote on a potential plan to hire assessors on its own or continue to let cities and townships deal with assessors on an individual basis.

The county has several options: It could let townships deal with assessors as the need arises, it could contract with individual townships to provide assessors, or it could enact the “true county assessor” model, which would consolidate all assessment services for cities and townships in Mower County under Mower County Assessor Joy Kanne’s office.

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Earlier this year, the county board sent letters to all 20 townships seeking input on how they would like to proceed with paying and hiring assessors. The move comes after 14 townships approached county officials earlier this year with concerns after their assessors gave notice to quit the job.

Kanne has said the county currently has contracts with 13 cities, including the city of Austin, and the townships of Austin, Lansing and Windom. The remaining townships have local assessors who are hired and fired by their board.

Mower County board members have voiced concerns that townships may eventually ask the county to switch to such a model if there’s a lack of qualified assessors interest in the positions as current assessors retire. The county also saw some assessment mistakes last year that the Assessor’s Office needed to correct.

The Austin City Council previously voiced its support for the true county system.

In other business, the county will discuss its 2017 budget and hear a department update from Sheriff Terese Amazi.