Martin County Assessor: Valuations on the way

FAIRMONT — Martin County Assessor Mike Sheplee has some important information to share concerning property tax valuations.

In addition, there have been some updates to the county’s Beacon website, with new features recently opened up to the public.

“The new valuations will be mailed starting this Friday,” he said. “It will be one envelope containing a tax bill that’s paid this year, and a value notice that can be appealed this year.”

Sheplee said local appeals can be made in April, while county appeals will happen in June.

“Then state tax court is to be filed by the following April,” he said. “Those appeals enable a taxpayer to offer proof that the assessment is incorrect or unequal compared to like properties. So it’s important that people look at the details of the property, which are available on the Beacon website, contact the Assessor’s Office if any of those are incorrect, and then talk to us about the value if you feel it should be different.

“So step one is talk to the assessor, step two is go the these appeal meetings and try and convince those at the appeals meetings that the assessor’s value should be corrected.”

Sheplee also noted the recent updates to the Beacon system that may help people understand the valuation process.

“Beacon is a free app,” he said. “There’s no registration needed. If one were to Google ‘Beacon’ in Martin County, they would come to a search page where they can search by name, address, parcel number or township section.

“People wonder whether the value we put on their property is reasonable, and one way to measure that is to look at sales of similar property. If you go to the website and click on a parcel, at the bottom of that page is recent sales in the area. You can change the dates there, and if you click on sales by neighborhood it will give you a list of properties that have actually sold. These are arm’s length sales, and you should be able to then see what is happening in the market for properties near yours.”

Another thing people may not be aware of is that their tax statements and valuation notices also will be available on the website.

“As soon as we get these tax statements printed, they will be online,” Sheplee said. “So if for some reason they can’t get their mail or have misplaced it, it is available on Beacon. When it comes to paying your property taxes, you can also pay online.”

Beyond tax valuations, the site is a good tool for specific property information.

“There is also very detailed information on Beacon about properties newly opened up to the public,” Sheplee noted. “Things like bedrooms, bathrooms, sidings, year built, so people can come and check that and let us know if there’s an issue.

“An easy way to contact us now on Beacon is at the top every property has an appraiser’s name beside it. If you click it, it gives you an email so you can write and talk about an issue and we know what exactly what property you’re talking about. That way people can communicate and may not need to make a trip out to our office.”

In addition, it can be helpful for people who need to put together a mailing list quickly.

“So if they want a list of certain people for mailing lists in a township or to contact their neighbors about road or pipeline projects, it’s as easy as defining your search and downloading the address labels,” Sheplee said.

“One of the newest items we have is a sales list that is updated daily, rather than monthly or on request. The site has every sale that was reported through our office for the month and details about it.

“On the maps, it may be more for rural property owners, people can find acreage sizes and they can also find where specific DNR wildlife management areas are located. It’s similar for streams, and it’s a way for people who aren’t as familiar with the area to find what their looking for.”

The site also boasts demonstration videos for those who may need help navigating and utilizing the site.

“So that’s the word I would like to get out, for people to look for their notice and appeal information, and check their property information out on Beacon. It’s a great tool for people to explore information about every parcel in the county.”