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Reader's view: Single assessor system not in townships' best interest

This is in response to a recent decision regarding that St. Louis County should have a single assessor system. I feel this would not be in the best interest of most township residents ("Panel backs single assessor system for St. Louis County," Fe...

This is in response to a recent decision regarding that St. Louis County should have a single assessor system. I feel this would not be in the best interest of most township residents ("Panel backs single assessor system for St. Louis County," Feb. 9).

I have been a township supervisor with a local township for nearly 20 years. St. Louis County is one of the few counties in Minnesota that passes the entire cost of assessing properties on to local townships. We even pay for the postage to send out the assessment notices! The county gets the biggest slice of the pie, and the township gets the smallest; but we pay for the whole process.

Our township started hiring a private assessor many years ago, and it has worked out very well for a number of reasons. First, the overall cost is 15 percent less than what St. Louis County charged. Second, our local assessor is much more familiar with the properties in our "neck of the woods" and what their sale histories. Also, when there is a question on an assessment, our local assessor is much more available to meet with property owners to view properties and to listen to owners.

We always felt the county-hired assessor was a fox in the henhouse because the county was getting the biggest piece of the pie. The assessment bill is a huge part of a township's budget. By hiring our own assessor, we cut down on overall costs and got better service.

Chris Campbell

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