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Rock County Auditor Acknowledges Goof In Tax Increase

April 12, 1988

LUVERNE, Minn. (AP) _ The Rock County auditor says he made a mistake in raising property taxes by 9.24 mills for all property owners in the county, and he plans to invest the extra $460,000 that will be raised by this year’s taxes.

″I goofed and I’m sorry,″ Charlie Braa said Monday. ″I’m not going to offer any excuses.″

″This seems to have resulted in a pretty big mistake,″ said Dennis Erno, an assistant state revenue commissioner. ″It’s come up before (in other jurisdictions, but) there is nothing on record as big as this that we know of.″

Typically, the error raised property taxes by $28, on top of the previous $409.76, on a $36,700 home and adds $39 to the $400.78 tax on an 80-acre farm valued at $81,400, Braa said. Those figures assume that, under Minnesota’s Homestead Credit Act, the state has already paid a portion of the total tax if the property owner met certain qualifications .

Braa said the error occurred when a new employee failed to deduct anticipated income from fees and court fines before calculating the tax levy. Braa said he failed to catch the error in his own calculations.

Actually, the error is not that great. The county tax rate would have increased by 8.55 mills, from 32.61 mills to a new total of 41.16 mills, even without the mistake.

The county can’t refigure and issue new bills for taxes payable in May because records are not computerized and the work would take two months to do by hand.

″People would end up getting two (bills) and might pay the wrong one anyway,″ Braa said.

Braa said he plans to suggest that the County Board compensate property owners by reducing taxes next year.

County Board Chairman Ron Boyenga said he has heard little grumbling from the county ’s 10,700 residents about the error.

″It’s no big deal, I guess,″ he said. ″It just happened.″

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