Bemidji property assessments under Rita Albrecht excessive

This letter is paid content. Did Bemidji do work, like resurfacing, on your street in recent years? Were you assessed for it? Did it cause your property value to increase by at least the amount of the assessment? If your answers were yes, yes, and no, respectively, your assessment may have been unlawful.

Under Minnesota law, cities are permitted to make street improvements, and pay for them by assessing the adjacent properties. But the amount assessed cannot be more than the “benefit” -- the increase in the property’s land value -- due to the “improvement”. (See Increase in a property’s land value (if any), and its cause, can be determined by contacting the County Assessor’s office.

For several years now, with Mayor Rita Albrecht presiding, the Bemidji City Council has followed a policy of repaving streets and imposing these property assessments, often at a flat $38 per lineal foot, without regard for the property benefit, if any, due to the improvements.

This over-assessment is believed to have affected several hundred Bemidji properties, and a federal class action lawsuit for refunds to Bemidji property owners is now being considered.

At their 2019 assessment meeting, the Bemidji City Council was put on notice of the law limiting their proposed property assessments, and that some of the assessments exceeded the amount that could be lawfully assessed; but the Council passed them anyway. Council members voting for the excessive assessments included Rita Albrecht (now a candidate for State Senate, District 5); Michael Meehlhause (now a candidate for Bemidji Mayor); and current City Council candidates Ron Johnson, and Nancy Erickson.

These people clearly have little regard for property owners’ rights; or, for that matter, the law. If Rita Albrecht were elected to the State Senate, it would be bad news for property owners and taxpayers, statewide.

We don’t need to export Bemidji-style corruption and taxation to the State Senate. That’s another reason that I support Senator Justin Eichorn for State Senate, District 5. Content herein is solely the opinion of Adam Steele, C.P.A. This is an independent expenditure prepared by Adam Steele, and paid for by Adam Steele, P.O. Box 1132, Bemidji, MN 56619, 218-759-1162 and by the Beltrami County Republicans, P.O. Box 1986, Bemidji, MN 56619. It is not coordinated with or approved by any candidate nor is any candidate responsible for it.