Assessments are a very common method of raising money for projects on the local (city) level and are used by municipalities to reduce the burden on property taxes.
Indirect Form of Taxation
Assessments are an indirect form of taxation, but are considered more equitable to the taxpayer as those receiving the benefit of the improvement help to contribute to a portion of the financing.
In addition, assessments also provide a means to charge properties that are otherwise exempt from property taxes but are dependent on the public services of such improvements.
Assessments in Maplewood are governed by an approved policy in order to be consistent, fair and equitable to all the property owners and taxpayers in the city. Each fall the City Council establishes the Assessment Rates (PDF) for the following year.
Typically, city public improvements have some portion of the financing that is through special assessments levied against the benefiting properties.
This assessment process follows specific statutory guidelines and procedures to protect both the rights of the property owner, as well as the general taxpayer.
Special Assessment Policy
On February 8, 2010 the City Council approved a Special Assessment Policy (PDF). The assessment policy was established in order to provide a written document that guides future decision making. This document will also provide clarity to residents affected by assessments. The policy stipulates that it is not all inclusive and that unique or unusual circumstances may arise that may require special consideration. Overall the policy is meant to provide a foundation and may be revised from time to time.
City staff will make every effort to keep the posted assessment information current. Please contact our office before paying off an assessment. We will be able to provide you with the current principal balance, as well as the amount of any interest that may be due.
The City of Maplewood is only posting information for current improvement projects. Assessments are certified to Ramsey County in November of each year. If an assessment has been certified you will need to contact Ramsey County for current balance and pay-off information.
Once the city council has held the public hearing for a particular project, and has determined, (by majority vote), that the project is necessary and in the best interest of the community, all the affected properties are considered to have a Pending Assessment status.
Property owners that have received written notification of this public hearing are now legally required to disclose the property’s possible assessment liability at the time of a sale of the encumbered parcel.
The lists and maps of pending assessment areas listed are not official assessment rolls and are subject to change. As part of the project feasibility process, a preliminary or "Mock" assessment roll is prepared to identify probable properties that may be affected by an assessment and what the probable assessment might be. During the design process, more information becomes available which is factored into the preparation of the official final assessment roll, thus the pending amounts may be subject to change.
Once the City Council has held the assessment hearing and has adopted the assessment roll by majority vote, the status of the assessments will change from a pending assessment to a levied assessment status. Note any assessment rolls listed are the official assessment roll as acted upon by the city council. If there are individual parcels that are under review, or being given special consideration, they will be noted as such on the assessment roll.
Assessments levied in the current calendar year are certified to Ramsey County after November 15th of the year the assessment is adopted. Once assessments have been certified to Ramsey County, all assessment payments and pay offs, must be paid to Ramsey County not the City of Maplewood.