The NDDC has been working on property tax relief for aging commercial buildings in older districts for some time. At times it has seemed like trying to wrestle an elephant…the issue is so big that it’s hard to know where to grab on.
We believe that it is a significant issue in many places in Greater Minnesota, presenting substantial economic challenges to these communities. The symptom of this issue is commercial property values rising year after year, with the corresponding double-digit annual increase in property tax bills, in a geographic area with rents that are already as high as the market will bear.
Members of the NDDC E R Team returned to St. Paul this morning to follow-up on plans to help address the adverse impacts of the issue. We finalized both our short-term and long-term plans.
In the short-term, we will urge local individual property owners to make contacts with leaders at both the County and State levels, detailing the financial realities that they have experienced over the past eight years. We will urge our regional partners to do the same. We are following up with with our advisors on details of the statutes that we believe will result in more realistic valuations. Our elected state officials will communicate this information to the county assessors in support of more economically feasible evaluations.
In the longer-term, Representative Bly is pulling together regional state representatives for a meeting with regional property owners. The goal is a legislative working group that will look at the larger issues over the summer, recommend meaningful changes, and then implement the necessary legislation. The bill will be introduced at the beginning of next session.
The NDDC believes that the State of Minnesota should develop a policy that preserves these older commercial districts throughout Greater Minnesota. These districts are the most visible indicators of community pride, along with economic and social health. They can be a key asset in the efforts to recruit and retain residents and businesses, as well as attract visitors and others to our communities. These older commercial districts can make essential contributions to the quality of life in our communities. Finally, these older commercial districts symbolize our communities’ heritage.