Dickinson sees overall decrease in city value

Dickinson saw an overall decrease in city value for the first time since 2011 this year, something that may be attributed to the decrease in oil production in the area the last few years.

Dickinson saw an overall decrease in city value for the first time since 2011 this year, something that may be attributed to the decrease in oil production in the area the last few years.

"That's the first time that's occurred since I've been the assessor," said City Assessor Joe Hirschfeld at last week's city commission meeting.

The city has not raised property taxes the past eight years, partially because there have been a lot of new properties coming on the tax roll, said City Administrator Shawn Kessel. The city was also issuing many more building permits five years ago than it is today.

As a result, the city commission will be under pressure when it goes to set the budget later this year, Kessel said. When values go down, in order for political entities to receive the same property tax revenue, the commission may need to increase mills, Hirschfeld said.

About two weeks ago, the city, which is in the middle of its residential revaluation process, sent out notices to properties that saw values rise by $3,000 or more or saw a 10 percent increase compared with the last time these properties were valued, which was around 2000, Hirschfeld said. This year, 391 properties received a notice, which is much smaller than any prior year he has been working in Dickinson.


Once the city completes this residential revaluation, in about three years, it will then start the process over, Hirschfeld said.

With the oil boom among other factors over the years, the city has not been able to do another total revaluation until recently, he said, adding that he would suggest they be completed every five to seven years. But during the oil boom, his office struggled to keep up with the new construction.

In recent revaluations, residential properties saw a 7.5 percent decrease overall, which ranged from a 1 percent increase to a 10 percent decrease depending on the neighborhood.

Nine of the 18 hotels responded to the city's request for data, Hirschfeld said.

Most commercial properties did not see an increase.

"I think it goes to there's enough uncertainty that there are investors who aren't ready to buy into the Dickinson market," Hirschfeld said. "In order to entice them in would require the sellers to sell at a price they think is below the market, so you just haven't had the meeting of the minds between the buyers and the sellers then to create that market."

The city asked apartment companies for their income data in order to help determine the value of these sites, though this information is voluntary. Of the 190 apartment buildings, the city received 30 responses, only four of which came from the new apartments. This made it more difficult to calculate the income approach when apartment complexes do not provide their income data to the city so it can better determine its values, Hirschfeld said.

But he also reported that the market is now increasing following a "pretty steep decrease" the first half of 2016.


"There's always the uncertainty about how long that cycle is going to last, the down cycle, how deep is it going to get? When is it going to return?" Hirschfeld said. "It always will, just because of the cyclical nature. It's just very difficult to time it."

But this market is influenced by oil production in the area, he said. Last May, the lowest oil rig count he saw was 27, but now there are more than 50, last he checked. This could bode well for the housing market if the oil activity returns. Though housing prices may not have reached the top, they are trending upward, he said.

Homeowners may be happy with the increased value they may now be seeing in their homes if they are looking to sell them soon, Kessel said, noting that the impact of these fluctuations is not realized until people go to sell their homes. But those who are not looking to sell their houses in the near future, may prefer that the value remains the same or decreases because higher housing values can mean higher taxes.

Earlier this year, the city and Stark County denied both Menards and Sierra Ridge Apartment Homes' application for abatement, meaning these businesses feel they are valued too highly and paying too high of property taxes as a result. Menards is now appealing the county's decision, according to a county court document.

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