14 Reasons Why Property Taxes Vary

Perhaps the tax accessors and other government officials in Hennepin County and specifically Orono, MN are getting some flack over property values and the corresponding property taxes.  The City of Orono has as the second link front and center on their home page, “14 Reasons Why Property Taxes Vary” by the Association of Minnesota Counties.  It was originally produced in 2006 just as the housing market was peaking.

If you are thinking about challenging your present tax assessed value in 2012, you may want to take some time to read their document so that you will know what the arguments are to possibly keep your tax assessed value at its current number.

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County Road 116 and Hackamore Intersection to Get Traffic Lights – Medina and Corcoran

The intersection of County Road 116 and Hackamore Road in Medina and Corcoran has increasingly been the seen of serious car crashes.  For those in Medina and Corcoran who have to cross that intersection throughout the day, it feels like you are running the gauntlet.  There is a convergence of traffic in both directions causing significant safety concerns.

According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County has agreed to install traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 116 and Hackamore in Medina as it is increasingly more busy and seeing a higher number of serious accidents.  It’s a big relief for those who live in Foxberry Farms and Bridgewater who have high school aged drivers trying to cross this intersection at least twice per day as they travel to and from Wayzata High School and Providence Academy.

(County Road 116 and Hackamore Road pictured below)

Recently a group of citizens organized by Mark Osmanski, collected nearly 300 signed petitions from area home owners and presented them to county officials including Hennepin County Commissioner, Jeff Johnson, as well as the lead Traffic Engineer for Hennepin County, Jim Grube during a public meeting recently held and organized by Mr. Osmanski.  At this meeting were about 40 people in total including Commissioner Johnson and Mr. Grube as well as Medina Mayor Tom Crosby, Corcoran Mayor Ken Geunthner and Corcoran Police Chief Sean Gormley.  Key traffic engineering staff was also present at this meeting which was held on December 16th, 2011 at the Hennepin County Public Works Facility in Medina.

At this meeting led and spearheaded by Osmanski there was an excellent discussion of the issues and the county was very receptive to the issues and concerns presented by Osmanski and others who gave testimony to the harrowing experience they or their children have faced.  A few of those who had been involved in serious crashes also spoke.

Someone raised the question…”do we have to wait until someone dies?”  Mr. Grube immediately responded and said no that is not the case and that’s not how the county operates or makes it’s decisions.  I personally attended this meeting and thought Mr. Grube did a good job of handling the questions.  While there were some pointed questions at times, the group was very respectful making for a productive meeting.

It turns out in preparation for the meeting Grube and his team had done some additional homework on the road to update their data as well and he concluded that it was indeed time for the county to take a hard look at that intersection and that it probably made sense to install a light there especially prior to the road construction set to shut down Highway 55 west of Arrowhead Road which will divert more traffic up and down County Road 116.

During the meeting Medina Mayor Crosby as well as Corcoran Mayor Geunthner spoke and said that they would gladly support the effort and the funds were there if the cities need to contribute.  Both acknowledged they would need council approval but didn’t foresee an issue with that.  (Note: some days after the meeting, we received an e-mail stating that Hennepin County would go ahead with the traffic light and install it on a temporary basis.  Temporary for the county would be up  to 25 years.  Now according to the Star Tribune story, the cities will have  to pay for the electricity to run the light. That should not be an issue).

It’s expected the light will be installed this spring which can’t come soon enough for area residents and drivers.  This issue is a great example of citizens organizing and raising an issue with their government in a professional and productive manner.  The individuals that really needs to be applauded for their efforts are Peter Hayden, Kristin Toste, Deb Engebretson, Mike Mrosak and Mark Osmanski who led the campaign.

Hennepin County Property Taxes 2012

Hennepin County mailed out its proposed tax statement to all property owners today.  They are claiming that they are proposing a budget of $1.56 billion which is lower by 3.13% – or $50 million.  That seems almost hard to believe.

I received my statement and I live in Medina.  My property rightly dropped.  They took it  down by 4.5% but my the overall tax amount is actually increasing by 1.9%.

The Hennepin County Truth-in-Taxation meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th at 6pm at the Hennepin County Government Center located at 300 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis.  The meeting will be held in the county board room – A2400.

Rat-infested Bank Owned Home for Sale

This one was a real beauty.  I am not able to identify this house as it’s not my listing, but I showed this house recently and  it was obvious as soon as we walked in the door that there had been plenty of rats and mice in the house at some point.  We did not run in to any rats when we were in there but their handiwork was evident everywhere in the basement as you can see by this picture.  It appears the previous homeowner may have had chickens in the garage which would have attracted the rats especially since this home is in the country.  Rats love corn that is fed to chickens.

Rat-infested House
Rat-infested House

When I got home, I just felt like I was still in the house.  I threw everything in the wash and had to take a shower.  Good luck to whomever buys that house!

Minnesota State Government Shutdown Looms – Real Estate Transactions Expected to Continue as Normal

It’s expected that the Minnesota State government will shut down come July 1, 2011.  Obviously the shutdown will impact many businesses and have some impact in the Minnesota economy.  However, with regard to real estate transactions, from what I’m hearing from mortgage brokers and title companies is that we should be able to continue to close transactions as we normally would.  Remember, the recording of the real estate documents gets done at the county level and not at the state level.

Minnesota Public radio (MPR) has an FAQ on the State of Minnesota government shutdown if you’d like to know more information regarding what might be impacted.