Minnesota municipalities often use a process known as a “special assessment” to raise money for public projects such as roads and sewers. Not all assessments are lawful. For the special assessment to be lawful, the assessment must meet three conditions: (1) the property must receive a special benefit from the improvement being constructed; (2) the assessment must be uniform upon the same class of property; and (3) the assessment may not exceed the special benefit. In plain English, this means that your property must be benefited as a result of the project and the amount of the assessment must not exceed the benefit. For example, if you are assessed $10,000 but the property does not increase in value by that amount or more, the assessment is likely unlawful.
A city must provide a property owner with notice of the proposed assessment. If a property owner believes that the assessment is unfair, it’s very important to act quickly after receiving the notice. There are strict statutory deadlines that must be met to bring a claim. Failure to timely respond may be fatal to any effort to defeat or reduce the assessment.
The attorneys at Malkerson Gunn Martin have successfully represented clients in efforts to eliminate and substantially reduce special assessments.