Understanding Kanabec County Property Taxes A Detailed Explanation

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In this article, we will dive deep into the complex world of property taxes in Kanabec County. Property taxes can often be a confusing topic for many homeowners, but it is essential to understand how they are calculated and what factors influence their fluctuation. Kanabec County Commissioner, Kathi Ellis, sheds light on the intricacies of property taxes in a recent YouTube video. We will break down the information provided in the video to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how property taxes are determined in Kanabec County.

The Calculations Behind Property Taxes

Kanabec County follows a complicated formula outlined by the state of Minnesota to calculate property taxes. Limited market value, which is going to be phased out after this year, is currently used as a basis for determining the taxes. However, we will not delve into a lengthy discussion on this particular issue. Instead, let’s focus on the key aspects of Commissioner Ellis’ explanation.

The Budgeting Process

The property taxes you pay are directly impacted by the budget determined by the five county commissioners. This budget is based on recommendations from department heads regarding funding requirements. The commissioners then evaluate whether the requested funds are truly necessary. This meticulous process usually commences in June or July and continues until September 15th, which is the deadline for establishing a preliminary budget and levy.

Preliminary Levy and Final Budget

By the end of December, a final budget must be approved. The levy determined in September or lower serves as the basis for property taxes. In some instances, the county has set higher levies in September, only to reduce them by varying degrees later on. Consequently, the property taxes you pay are ultimately influenced by the budget approved in December.

Understanding Tax Fluctuations

It is important to note that property taxes can fluctuate from year to year. While your taxes may increase, someone else’s may decrease, even if you both own similar properties. This disparity is primarily due to a formula utilized by the state for distributing taxes, and it can be quite perplexing. However, it is crucial to understand that it is not the county board’s decision to raise property taxes; rather, the state determines how taxes are distributed.

State Statutes and Tax Distribution

To comprehend how taxes are distributed, we must turn to state statutes and the formula they provide. Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where the total budget for the county is $20 billion. However, approximately half of that budget is covered by external revenue sources, such as federal funds, grants, or rentals. The remaining $10 million is then distributed among property owners based on a specific formula.

Assessing Property Value

Determining how much each property owner pays involves assessing the value of their properties. In the past, there were two numbers involved in this calculation: limited market value and estimated market value. Limited market value functioned as a cap on the annual increase in assessment value. The legislature made changes approximately nine years ago to remove the limited market value, thereby impacting new home builders and those with older homes differently.

Effects of Limited Market Value Elimination

Eliminating limited market value affected homeowners who had resided in their houses for an extended period and had older properties. The dramatic increase in estimated market values between 2002 and 2006 caused limited market value to creep up at a faster rate for these homeowners. Consequently, this change created significant challenges for a vast number of long-time homeowners who were not planning on moving.


Understanding property taxes can be overwhelming, but delving into the details can help make them more comprehensible. Kanabec County Commissioner, Kathi Ellis, sheds light on the intricacies of property taxes in the region. By considering various factors, such as the budgeting process, preliminary levies, and the formula used for tax distribution, we can form a better understanding of how property taxes are determined in Kanabec County. It is essential to stay informed about changes in legislation and their potential impact to ensure you are aware of the factors influencing property tax fluctuation.

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