The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) would like to thank Representative Bly and Senator Dahle for introducing bills at the State Legislature that are intended to address the commercial property tax situation in downtown Northfield. It is encouraging for us to see some action on this issue that has such a significant impact for so many building and business owners in downtown.
As we have said many times and in many places, rising commercial property taxes are threatening the economic vitality of our historic downtown. Since 2000, commercial property taxes have increased by double-digit percentages every year; most building owners have seen their taxes increase by over 200 percent in the past seven years. Commercial property taxes have now reached a level where the local market rent rates no longer cover operating expenses, much less generate cash for basic maintenance or building improvements.
We greatly appreciate the opportunity created by Representative Bly and Senator Dahle to share the story of the situation in Northfield with members of the House and Senate Property Tax Committees. We were impressed with the interest and respect shown to us by members of both committees. While acknowledging that there are significant financial challenges facing the State, they clearly demonstrated that they could see that the situation created by rising commercial property taxes in downtown Northfield was not economically sustainable.
The NDDC continues to hope that there will soon be some relief for commercial property owners in older commercial districts in Minnesota. If, at times, we must take a step back, we will follow up by taking two steps forward.