By Bill Anderson
The roar of diesel engines mingled with the calls of geese, ducks and pheasants as 2018’s Spring field work commenced in this area. Shane Breker, Mike Anderson, Kurt Breker and the Banish Brothers, Mike & Rick, were all planting wheat by Thursday, April 26, while Lyle Erickson, Harvey Bergstrom and Joe Breker, among others, were planning to have planters at work on some of their fields by Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1. There have been a few reports of corn being planted, but most operators in this area are of the consensus that the ground is still too cold for corn or soybean seed to be sown. The frost is just beginning to come out in some fields, and the side hills that were covered by snowbanks only 2 weeks ago are still soggy traps waiting to ensnare an unsuspecting farmer and his tractor. Despite Spring’s perils, however, there is new energy in the air with the onset of Spring planting. The seed is in the ground, and all things are possible. It’s great to be alive! A good rain would be helpful.
The Rutland City Board of Equalization reconvened at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, in the Rutland Town Hall, with Council President Mike Mahrer; City Auditor Deb Banish; and, Aldermen Rodney Erickson; Delores Lysne; and, Bert Siemieniewski; present. Mayor Ron Narum was absent. Also present for the reconvened meeting was City Assessor/County Director of Tax Equalization Denise Ferderer. Ms. Ferderer discussed how the State Board of Equalization had arrived at the current recommended valuations for residential property in Rutland last October and showed comparisons with residential properties in other jurisdictions within Sargent County. The Council approved valuations in the City, with a 20% across the board reduction from the level directed by the State Board of Equalization last Fall. The City’s valuations will next be reviewed at the County Board of Equalization meeting in June, and, finally, at the State Board of Equalization meeting in Bismarck this coming August. Due to requirements imposed by the State Legislature, all units of local government will have to have their 2019 budget work completed a month earlier this year. The 2017 session of the North Dakota State Legislature also ended the 12% property tax buy down and structured funding for elementary and secondary education in such a way that many, if not most, school districts in the State were required to increase their property tax levies in order to fund operations. As school funding accounts for approximately 60% of the local property tax bill, most owners of real property would have experienced significant increases in property tax, even without an increase in valuation. While forcing property tax increases on local taxpayers, the State Legislature has reduced State revenues by giving massive tax cuts to out-of-State corporations, such as oil companies, that have significantly impacted local and State infrastructure throughout North Dakota. Well, it all starts with the local city and township Board of Equalization, where your friends and neighbors try to work with a tax policy and funding formula drafted in the Board room of an Oklahoma oil company.
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