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Tue Jun 1, 2021, 07:31 AM

Northern Minnesota counties could be on the hook for millions after state's latest move in Enbridge

Northern Minnesota counties could be on the hook for millions after state’s latest move in Enbridge property tax saga

Officials say the only thing that could keep some local governments in the 13 affected counties out of bankruptcy is the Legislature.

A group of northern Minnesota counties, cities, towns and school districts are now on the hook for a massive bill from Enbridge Energy after a long-running court saga over the oil and gas company’s property taxes was largely resolved this week.

State tax courts earlier this year ruled the Minnesota Department of Revenue had overvalued Enbridge’s property between 2012 and 2016, and the state on Wednesday appealed only the ruling for 2012 to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The bill for all five years is likely more than $30 million, according to preliminary estimates made in April by DOR. While that’s not an enormous sum for the state to handle, local governments, at least for now, have to pick up most of the tab, even though DOR was responsible for the problem.

Matt Hilgart, government relations manager for the Association of Minnesota Counties, said some counties may be able to raise taxes enough to cover the costs, even though doing so would bring a huge bill to areas that are largely poor. But “many others are just not in a position to make that up through a levy,” Hilgart said.

Read more: https://www.minnpost.com/greater-minnesota/2021/05/northern-minnesota-counties-could-be-on-the-hook-for-millions-after-states-latest-move-in-enbridge-property-tax-saga/

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