DULUTH - A private assessor who contracts with 24 townships and one city in St. Louis County has been suspended for 90 days. Concerns expressed by the St. Louis County Assessor regarding Jan Jackson led to an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
The findings of the Minnesota Board of Assessors, which the County received Tuesday, faulted Jackson for missed new construction, unfinished quintile work, incomplete assessments and failure to meet professional expectations between 2010-2012.
The document lists as facts that there were 53 instances of new construction in the areas Jackson served that she'd not properly assessed and five others that contained inaccurate information.
As part of the investigation, the Department of Revenue chose properties at random to spot-check, and found assessment errors on all parcels.
Numerous other examples are also cited.
"These findings affirm our concerns and we appreciate the Board of Assessors' decision," said Mark Monacelli, director of public records and property valuation for St. Louis County. "If all properties are not accurately or fairly valued, it affects the amount of property taxes every property owner pays."
The St. Louis County Assessor is responsible for the equalization of property assessments throughout St. Louis County to ensure that each property is equally and uniformly assessed.
This becomes a challenge however, because the County does not conduct all property valuations.
Some cities have chosen to set up their own assessment departments, and other cities and townships contract with private assessors.
Jackson is contracted for assessment services by the city of Leonidas as well as the following townships: Alborn, Arrowhead, Bassett, Brevator, Cherry, Crane Lake, Culver, Ellsberg, Elmer, Floodwood, Fredenberg, Great Scott, Industrial, Kelsey, Lavell, Meadowlands, Ness, New Independence, Portage, Prairie Lake, Solway, Stoney Brook, Van Buren and Wuori.
As part of the conditions to have her license returned after the 90-day suspension, Jackson is required to submit a signed quintile plan detailing how she will properly assess all existing properties and new construction within her districts every five years as required by state statute.
Her work will be monitored for two full assessment cycles, and if the Department of Revenue determines her work to be unacceptable, the Department will recommend revocation of her license.
"We look forward to working with cities and townships to ensure accurate and uniform assessment practices across the County," said Monacelli. "As part of our efforts, we've established a new position to work more closely with local assessors, providing better training and improving communication."
For more information about St. Louis County's assessment process and the 2012 findings of a Blue Ribbon Panel that analyzed county-wide assessment practices, visit stlouiscountymn.gov or call (218) 749-7147.