Budget, Taxation & Special Assessments

City Budget

Each year around June the City begins the process of developing an operating budget for the following year.  By September, the City has established a preliminary budget and tax levy which it then provides to Roseau County.  This "preliminary" tax levy is then mailed out to individual property owners in the form of a preliminary tax bill for review and comment.  In the meantime the Roseau City Council continues to refine the budget until a final city budget and tax levy is adopted December for the new fiscal year beginning January 1.  It should be noted that the final tax levy can only be the same or lower than the preliminary levy set in September, it cannot be higher.

The total city budget encompasses eight (8) fund areas including: general fund, special revenue funds, debt service fund, electric enterprise fund, water service enterprise fund, sanitary sewer service enterprise fund, garbage enterprise fund, and municipal liquor store enterprise fund.  The total budget for the City of Roseau including all funds and enterprises typically comes in at approximately $10 million, with approximately 8-10% of its revenue raised from local property taxes.  (Links to Annual Budget Summaries and Audited Financial Statements are provided below)


Property Taxes

Property, or real estate taxes, are revenues raised by the City to fund general operations of the city for such items as: police  and fire protection, street and general infrastructure maintenance and improvements, snow removal, recreation and parks, general administration and debt service payments.

The amount of property taxes an individual property owner pays is determined by many variables some of which are controlled by City officials and some which are not.  The primary determinant of property taxes collected is the amount of revenue being sought by the City for operations or the City tax levy.  The tax levy is the number of dollars the City is requesting from local property owners, in total, to fund annual operations.  

The remaining determinants of an individual property owners tax obligation is determined by the fair market value of an individuals property and State Law.  

An analogy for property taxes is the cutting of a pie.  In the case of property taxes, the city tax levy represents the "total pie" to be shared by all property owners within the city.  Individual property values and state tax rates for different property classifications then provide the formula for how that pie gets cut up and shared by each individual property owner.  Changes in the amount of the city's tax levy (size of the pie), property valuations and state tax rates (shares of the pie) can raise or lower taxes on a particular property owner in any given year.      

The City of Roseau contracts with the Roseau County Assessor to determine a fair market value for each property in the city.  Minnesota Statutes requires the assessor to physically review property at least once every four years.  For example, residential market values are determined upon the features of a home in relation to the actual prices paid for comparable housing in the community.  Establishing a fair and equitable market value ensures the homeowner is paying a comparable share of the total property tax burden, regardless of what the total tax burden is.

Minnesota Statutes determine how a city's tax levy will be distributed among the various types of property across the community - such as apartments, industrial/commercial, recreational, and residential homestead property.  Due to the fact that there are frequent changes in tax law, the tax burden may shift from year to year between differing types of property.  However, the total amount of money collected by the city in property tax is determined only by the actual amount of money requested by the City Council to fund local services or what is called the tax levy.  Nevertheless, annual changes on an individual's tax statement will depend on many variables that could change from year to year including in the city's property tax base, property tax classifications, state mandates, and other statutory requirements (fiscal disparities and tax increment financing) that affect the actual amount of property tax paid.

Property Assessment For Tax Purposes

The function of the City Assessor is to accurately and equitably value and classify all real estate in the City so that the tax base can be determined.  All assessors must be licensed and certified by the Minnesota State Board of Assessors. The City of Roseau contracts with the Roseau County Assessor for all assessing services.

State Law Requires That:

  • The values are placed at 100% of the market value as determined by annual State Department of Revenue sale surveys
  • Each Property in the City must be reviewed and reappraised at least every four years.
  • The property must be properly classified: homestead, non-homestead, taxable, exempt, apartment, industrial, etc.

Assessor's Review of Property

Under Minnesota Statute 273.08, the assessor is required to review each property at least once every four years.  The appraiser may visit your property at shorter intervals for any of the following reasons.

  • To review new construction as a result of a permit.  The assessor may stop by each year until the work is completed.
  • To complete a review assessment for an appeal, such as a tax petition.
  • To review the property at the owner's request.
  • To review the property at any time the assessor believes that the property information may be in error and/or incorrect value may have been placed on the property.

A typical assessment visit will take approximately 10 minutes.  The assessor will not immediately be able to provide a homeowner the new value of the property after the assessment.  The assessor collects and verifies all of the necessary information required to value a property.  Values are not calculated until January of each year.  The homeowner will receive a value notice in February or March of the following year.

Questions about your property taxes:

If a homeowner thinks that their property taxes are too high, they may want to discuss concerns with the City Council, School Board, County Commissioner, or State Representative.  Public comments are also welcome at the City, County and School District budget hearings.  These hearings are held each year in November and December.

Questions about your market value:

If you have any comments or questions about your property valuation please contact the Roseau County Assessor.  Many property owner's concerns can be explained or resolved over the phone.  If the assessor cannot resolve the problem, one can appeal to the Local Board of Review, the Roseau County Board of Equalization, or the Minnesota Tax Court.  Information about these methods of appeal is outlined on the property value notice received each year in March or April.

All property information and assessing records are maintained at the Roseau County Courthouse by the Roseau County Assessor.

Roseau County Assessor 218-463-1861


Special Assessments

Special assessments are sometimes thought to be a part of property taxes because they often appear on property tax statements.  However, special assessments are not part of the property tax formula.  Special assessments are charges for specific improvements to a property for the construction of water mains, sewer mains, streets, sidewalks or similar physical improvements to a property which have been financed by the city, county or other governmental authority with property owners paying these costs over a number of years, typically 10-30.

Property taxes are levied on all taxable parcels based on their value for generic city operational costs.  Whereas special assessments are determined on the actual costs of a specific improvement for a specific property.  The City will also add a small interest factor to the special assessment calculation to cover carrying costs and delinquencies.

Prior to the City undertaking any improvement for which it anticipates utilizing assessments for project costs it must first notify landowners and undertake public hearings to inform affected residents and property owners of the project and its anticipated costs.