Mandan News

District 31 updates

James Schmidt
Just when I thought property tax issues gave way to springtime activities, along comes this envelope from Morton County.

I ripped it open, and yep, right back into the world of property taxes. Well I knew it would never go away, but a little time away would have been nice.

It was the “Notice of Increase In Real Estate Assessment.” The first thing I looked for was dollar signs. They weren’t too hard to find. Of course the value had been raised. I can live with that, but what I didn’t understand was the “Notice” did not include all of my land.

Then I read a statement – “The taxing district must base its tax rate on the number of dollars raised from property taxes in the previous taxable year by the taxing district.”

Apparently my neighbors had the same response to the “Notice,” as I started to get phone calls. Most of the questions were as to why some of the land they owned did not increase in assessment.

Well perhaps, it just didn’t for whatever the reason was the logic. That may be the wrong logic.
I thought the “Notice” needed some discussion for those of us who have yet to receive it from your counties so that when you do, you’ll have a better idea of what it means.

The “Notice” is required by state law. The “Notice” format was developed by the State Tax Department in compliance with state law and sent to counties. Morton County followed state law and did exactly what it was instructed to do.

If some of your land is not included in the notice of increase in assessment, it may be do to another part of state law. Basically, if a tract of land assessed does not increase by more than $3000 and more than 10% over the previous year, a “Notice” is not required.

As an example, if a tract increased in assessed value $2900, and that increase was 15% over last year, you would not get a “Notice.” This is even though the percent increase was more than 10%. The increase in dollars would have to have been greater than the $3000 also, in order for it to be included in the “Notice.”

There should have been a statement attached to the “Notice” that explains this so none of us open our December statement and get that sticker shock for land we thought did not increase in assessed value because it was not on the “Notice.”

As for the statement about the taxing district, in short, it is confusing, it is directly from state law and it really needs to be re-written. Another legislator and I will be drafting legislation to better define how to determine tax rate.

As a member of the interim Taxation Committee, we have draft legislation that requires a “Notice” be sent to a landowner if any increase in assessed value is determined.

Please note that an increase in assessed value does not mean your taxes will increase.

Karen Rohr
It is widely known that the Affordable Care Act places additional demands on primary care provider access. In North Dakota, it is estimated that ACA could possibly infuse 70,000 new patient consumers in health care. Primary care provider access impacts the quality of our health care delivery system.

A report from the N.D. Area Health Education Center informed committee members that in the next 10 years, it is estimated that 50% of our nurses will retire, a shortage of 300 primary care physicians and all health care disciplines will be impacted with workforce shortages resulting from retirement and the impact of ACA.

The committee heard additional reports from the N.D. Center for Nursing, N.D. Nurse Practitioner Association, N.D. Medical Association, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, N.D. Board of Physical Therapy, N.D. Hospital Association, N.D. Area Health Education Center, and the Center for Rural Health regarding workforce shortages in various health care disciplines and strategies for recruitment and retention in N.D.

It was noted that Health care is North Dakota’s largest non-government employer. According to the North Dakota Hospital Association there are 50 hospitals in ND: six Urban Hospitals: two in Bismarck, two in Fargo, one in Grand Forks and one in Minot; 36 rural Critical Access Hospitals; two Long Term Care Hospitals (Mandan, Fargo); two Specialty Psychiatry Hospitals (Fargo, Grand Forks); one N.D. State Hospital (Jamestown); one N.D. Veterans Hospital (Fargo); and two Federal Indian Health Services Hospitals (Belcourt, Fort Yates). 14 hospitals are located in oil producing counties. District 31 has one critical access hospital in Elgin (Grant County) and one Federal Indian Health Services Hospital in Fort Yates (Sioux County).

The CRH/AHEC further identified several programs/activities designed to entice and incentivize N.D. students to enter health care professions and remain in N.D. following graduation, particularly in our rural areas. These incentives include programs that encourage students to participate in rural community-based learning experiences as well as increasing the number of rural locations that provide these opportunities.

Research has shown that recruiting students from urban and rural, underserved areas, to become doctors, nurses and other health professions are more likely to choose primary care and practice in their home communities. Two programs that devote time and effort to “growing our own” workforce include the Rural-Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning Health Scrubs Camps and Health Academies.

AHEC has also given grants to facilitate health occupation activities such as Marketplace for Kids (N.D. Small Business Development Center), N.D. Crash Course (N.D. Center for Technology and Small business) and Sustaining Career Pathways for American Indian Health Professionals (NDSU).

In summary, it is important to identify and address healthcare workforce shortages in our state to ensure that each resident has access to high quality care, especially as health care reform is rolled out.

For any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to contact me at kmrohr@nd.gov and have a safe and blessed week.