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Carlos Royal started this petition to State Representative Luke Simons and

The problem I want to solve has to do with real property tax assessments both residential and commercial. When there are good times and booming markets the powers at be and assessors raise our real property tax assessments, which means higher taxes because our incomes and our values have gone up, which is fine, no complainants here, but when there are bad times or bust markets and our incomes and values decline those same assessors and powers at be don't want to lower our tax assessments. That's just not right!

 Let me tell you my story, I will keep it brief. I am 76 years old, my wife and I had been accumulating little rental properties for retirement for about 35 years. All was good and we had a nice little retirement income but then an oil boom happened. Things went a little crazy with incomes and new construction building going nuts, and so did our tax assessments, which doubled, tripled and quadrupled in some cases. If the story ended there it would be great, but it didn't. What follows a boom with excessive over building? A bust of course, and that is exactly what happened to apartments and other commercial income properties.

The difference is going up the assessor raised our tax assessments to match our incomes and corresponding market values but going down he didn't. For example my properties loss 77% to 113% of their net operating income from 2014 thru 2017, anything over 100% means the property is losing money and does not even cover expenses to operate but my assessments declined just 2% to 24%. Going up it is not an issue because we had the income to pay the higher taxes but going down, we didn't and don't.  It got so bad in Dickinson, North Dakota and other oil boom bust towns that the real estate taxes on some apartments and other commercial properties were more than the net operating incomes of the properties themselves before debt service. In other words, the City and Counties were taking all the money. In some cases even more than the property produced. Thus, no more retirement income or very little even if you own the property free and clear of debt as we do. Over assessed, over taxed and no money but if you don't pay they will take your property. That's just not right!  

Basically, assessments are supposed to mirror market values. If your property value goes up for any reason your assessment are supposed to go up and if your property value goes down for any reason your assessment are supposed to go down but unfortunately that is not how it always works as illustrated by Dickinson, North Dakota and other oil boom bust towns, cities and counties all across the county, not just North Dakota. 

There is an easy solution to this problem of over assessments and under assessments too for that matter. It is called spot checks of the assessor's values by independent third-party appraisers to ensure that properties are listed on the tax rolls at their market values or at their true and full values as market value is often described in the law.

North Dakota has such a law. It is  NDCC 57-12-01.1 Spot checks of real property. "Prior to the annual meeting of the county board of equalization, the board of county commissioners of each county within this state shall provide for spot checks upon property within each county to properly verify the accuracy of the real property listings and valuations." So, what's the problem? The problem is Cities and Counties don't see spot checks as being mandatory as worded, so they haven't been doing them. For example, Stark County has never ever spot checked the assessor's values in Dickinson, North Dakota and the City didn't do them either, thus over assessments as much as 150% and all appeals were just denied even when the owners provided income, expenses, comparable sales and market value appraisals of their properties. That's just not right!

 We want to change that. We want to make spot checks mandatory! We want our properties assessed at market value, good times and bad. If you agree please sign our petition. We want your support not your money. You don’t have to be a property owner or live in Dickinson, North Dakota to support this petition you just have to believe in fair and honest tax assessments during good times and bad. Mandatory Spot checks will keep assessors and politicians honest in their tax assessments of our homes and investment properties.

We can change assessments from "That's just not right!" to "That's just right!" with mandatory spot checks. Just sign this petition and ask all you friends to do the same. 

Thank you for your time and support

Carlos Royal  

P.S. Two Short Videos you might enjoy watching, each is under 5 minutes

Over Assessments They all agreed they were over assessed but see the results!

Justice or Injustice Hear what happened because they feared others would want theirs corrected also. 

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