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Township Special Assessments

About Special Assessments in Williams County

In 2019, as authorized by North Dakota Century Code Section 40-23-01, the Williams County Board of County Commissioners created the Williams County Special Assessment Commission and appointed three members to that Special Assessment Commission.

The purpose of the Williams County Special Assessment Commission, as stated in North Dakota Century Code Chapter 40-23, is to make special assessments on behalf of Williams County for projects to be financed, in whole or in part, through special assessments and which have been approved by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners. The Williams County Special Assessment Commission cannot and does not make special assessments for Townships, or for engineers or other persons hired by Townships, where the Township decides to, or is considering, taking on a project to be financed, in whole or in part, by special assessments within the Township and creating a Township special assessment district.

Under state law, Townships who take on a project to be financed, in whole or in part, by special assessments within the Township, or who create the Township's own special assessment district must establish a Township Special Assessment Commission. The only exception to this would be if the Township sought and obtained an agreement approved by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners for use of the Williams County Special Assessment Commission for the Township special assessment project or if it was a Township project approved by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners.

In summary, any Township who is considering now, or will consider in the future, any project to be financed, in whole or in part, by special assessments, or who creates the Township's own special assessment district, must either establish its own Special Assessment Commission as required by North Dakota Century Code Section 40-23-01 or must seek and obtain an agreement approved by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners for use of the Williams County Special Assessment Commission for the Township special assessment project, or the Township project must be approved by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners.

Townships and/or their engineers desiring to use the Williams County Special Assessment Commission for a Township project to be financed, in whole or part, by the Township through special assessments, or desiring to seek approval from the Williams County Board of County Commissioners for a project should contact Williams County Highway Superintendent Dennis Nelson at 701-577-4521 before committing to a project.

Requirements & Timeline

A summary of the procedures required by state law to be used by a Township in taking on a project to be financed, in whole or in part, through special assessments is provided below. The full requirements of state law are found in North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) Chapters 58-18, 40-22, 40-23, 40-23.1, 40-24, 40-25, 40-26, 40-27, and 40-28.

Process

Requirement

NDCC Section

Petition of freeholdersPetition to be signed by 60% of freeholders in proposed improvement district area58-18-02
Improvement District Created by Township BoardDesignated by name appropriate to the type of improvement and by a number distinguishing it from other improvement districts; size & form to include all properties benefitted by improvement project58-18-02

58-18-03

Township Board Directs Engineer Hired by Township to ReportEngineer to prepare a report as to the general nature, purpose, and feasibility of the proposed improvement and an estimate of the probable cost of the improvement.58-18-04

40-22-10

Township Board Directs Engineer to Prepare Plans, Specs, & Cost EstimatesAfter Township Board receives engineer's report, Township Board may direct the engineer to prepare detailed plans, specs, and cost estimates for construction of the improvement58-18-04

40-22-11

Township Board Approves Plans, Specs & Cost EstimatesThe plans, specs, and cost estimates shall be approved by governing body (Township Board) by resolution58-18-04

40-22-11

Notice to Freeholders of Special MeetingTownship Board must provide 30 days written notice by first class mail of special meeting for public disclosure of engineer's findings & public notice in the newspaper at least 10 days prior to special meeting.58-18 -04
Special Meeting - Engineer's Findings & Election to Proceed on ProjectSpecial meeting for public disclosure of engineer's findings and voting by freeholders on question whether to proceed -- approval by 60% or more of votes cast at the special meeting or votes filed within 15 days after the special meeting. # of votes= 1 vote per $1 of the proposed assessment against the property58-18-05
Appeal NoticeFreeholders may appeal t he special assessment against freeholder's property by giving written notice of appeal to Township clerk within 20 days after the special township meeting disclosing engineer's findings & vote on whether to proceed with project; Township clerk then schedules a special meeting to hear appeals and publishes notice of the special meeting in the newspaper at least 10 days before the special meeting to hear appeals58-18-07
Special Meeting - AppealsTownship Board conducts a special meeting to hear timely filed appeals of the special assessment - Township Board may increase or diminish any assessment as it may deem just58-18-07
Contract ProposalsProposals for the work of making improvements must be advertised in the official newspaper once each week for 2 consecutive weeks40-22-19
Engineer's Statement of Estimated CostsBefore adopting or rejecting a bid, governing body (Township Board) must require engineer to make a careful and detailed statement of the estimated cost of the work; if engineer's estimate prepared under Section 40-22-29 exceeds engineer's estimate under Section 40-22-10 by more than 40%, governing body (Township Board) may not award the contract to any bidder40-22-29
Contract ExecutionExecutive Officer of governing body (Chairman of Township Board) to

execute contract and countersigned by Township clerk

40-22-35
Appointment of Special Assessment CommissionExecutive Officer of governing body (Chairman of Township Board) to appoint three residents and freeholders of Township as members of Special Assessment Commission with staggered terms (1, 3, and 5 year terms) and person with shortest term to be Chairman of commission40-23-01
Township Board Chairman Appoints Special Assessment Commission & Township Clerk Gives Notice of Special AssessmentsAfter approval and execution of contract by governing body (Township Board), governing body (Township Board) to direct assessments to be levied for the payment of all or any part of the cost, the items included in the total cost, along with the proposed list of properties to be assessed (street address or a legal description), the benefit to each property, and the amount to be assessed to each property; Township clerk to notify chairman of Special Assessment Commission & certify to chairman the total cost of the project; Commission chairman to call meeting to make and return special assessments40-23-05
Meeting of Special Assessment Commission to Certify ListSpecial assessment commission to make and certify the list of special assessments, to include the legal description or street address or both of each lot or tract benefitted by the improvement, the amount each lot or tract will be benefitted, and the amount to be assessed against each lot or tract, with the certification signed by a majority of the members of the commission40-23-05

40-23-09

Special Assessment Commission - Publication of Assessment List & Notice of Hearing of ObjectionsSpecial assessment commission must (1) publish certified list of assessments (to include in the publication only the street address or legal description and the amount each lot or tract is to be assessments and excluding from publication the amount each lot or tract will be benefitted), along wit h notice of hearing of objections, in newspaper once a week for 2 consecutive weeks or (2) send a letter by regular mail or certified mail, with affidavit attesting to mailing signed by Township clerk, to all property owners on the assessment list stating their assessments along with publication of map outlining assessment district and notifying property owners about letter sent out; hearing date must not be less than 15 days after 1st publication of notice40-23-10
Special Assessment Commission - Hearing of ObjectionsSpecial assessment commission to hold hearing on objections to assessment list and may make alterations as may be just or necessary40-23-11
Special Assessment Commission - Confirmation of List of AssessmentsSpecial assessment commission, after the hearing of objections, shall confirm assessment list and certify list as being correct and file certified assessment list with Township clerk40-23-12
Publication of Notice of Confirmation of ListTownship clerk to publish notice of assessment list confirmed by special assessment commission at least once in the newspaper and state date and time governing body {Township Board) will act on the assessment list; Township Board's meeting to act on list must be more than 15 days after publication of the not ice40-23-13
Appeal NoticePrior to meeting where governing body (Township Board) will act on assessment list, any aggrieved person may appeal the action of the special assessment commission by filing a written notice of appeal with the Township clerk40-23-14
Meeting of Governing Body (Township Board) to Hear Appeals & to Confirm ListThe governing body (Township Board), at the meeting where assessment list is to be acted upon, shall hear appeals by persons who filed an appeal with Township clerk and the Township Board may increase or diminish an assessment as it deems just; governing body (Township Board) to confirm list; Township clerk to attach certificate to list stating list is correct as confirmed by governing body (Township Board)40-23-15
Certification of Special Assessments to County Finance Director*Annually, Township clerk must certify to the County Finance Director* all uncertified installments of special assessments to be extended on tax list of Township for current year as provided by NDCC Section 40-24-1240-24-11
Notification of Special Assessments to County Finance Director*Township clerk to notify County Finance Director* no later than August 20th each year of special assessments made in Township in addition to those reported in the previous year40-24-12
County Finance Director* Delivers Real Estate Assessments Book to Township ClerkCounty Finance Director* must deliver real estate assessment book to Township clerk by September 20th of each year for insert ion of installment amounts and total amount of assessments certified for current year40-24-12
Certification of Special Assessments to County Finance Director*Township clerk to certify special assessments to County Finance Director* by November 1st of each year40-24-12
Governing Body (Township Board) to Compensate Special Assessment CommissionGoverning body (Township) Board must compensate members of the special assessment commission for services rendered in making divisions of special assessments40-24-13
Extension of Special Assessments by County Finance Director*County Finance Director* shall extend special assessments, along with interest and penalties, upon the tax lists of the Township for the current year, and paid to the Township clerk and placed in the pro per fund for which they were collected40-24-14

40-24-18

Warrants and Improvement BondsGoverning Body (Township Board) may, after making a contract for improvements, in anticipation of the levy and collect ion of special assessments may issue warrants or improvement bonds on the fund created for such improvement40-24-19

 

Reassessment or New Assessment to Correct Deficiencies in Special AssessmentsGoverning body (Township) Board may reassess or make a new assessment to correct deficiencies in the assessments by complying as closely as possible with the making of the assessment in the first instance

40-26-02

40-26-03

 

*County Finance Director took over these statutory duties of County Auditor per Ordinance adopted by the Williams County Board of County Commissioners.

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