Special Assessments: Mandan Shows Interest in Breaking with Nor - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Special Assessments: Mandan Shows Interest in Breaking with North Dakota Tradition

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To assess or not to assess?  That is the question.

Unlike many States, North Dakota special assesses homeowners for infrastructure like streets, lights and curbs.  But now, Mandan is showing interest in breaking with tradition.

The City says special assessments are on the rise -- which increase City debt, impacting the City financially.  Homeowners are also impacted.  "[It's] far more positive to have it up front and less negative impact down the road, from their viewpoint, when they're having to pay more than they had anticipated," says Sandy Tibke, Mandan City Commissioner.

In some cases, being blind-sided with special assessments -- unknown at the onset -- requires homeowner refinancing.  So some say such infrastructure should be included in lot prices to make home buying more transparent.

Others say that would slow building in Mandan and send people elsewhere for cheaper lots.  According to Corey Kost of Dakota Appraisal, "to pass the cost of infrastructure onto the developer that will increase the risk of development in Mandan and that increased risk will essentially, lower development tract value."

To sort it all out, the City is listening to industry professionals.  They expect to have a sense of direction within the next several months.

Even if the City decides to do away with special assessments for new developments, property owners will still be assessed about every 15 years for things such as street improvements.


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