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In the Matter of Appeal of Grand Forks Housing Authorities v. Grand Forks Board of County Commissioners

December 21, 2010

IN THE MATTER OF APPEAL OF GRAND FORKS HOUSING AUTHORITIES,
APPELLANT
v.
GRAND FORKS BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast Central Judicial District, the Honorable Debbie Gordon Kleven, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Maring,Justice.

N.D. Supreme CourtGrand Forks Housing Authority v. Grand Forks Board of County Commissioners,

2010 ND 245

This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents] [Download as WordPerfect]

AFFIRMED.

Opinion of the Court by

Grand Forks Hous. Auth. v. Grand Forks Bd. of County Comm'rs

No. 20100196

Maring, Justice.

[¶1] The Grand Forks Housing Authority appeals from a district court judgment affirming a decision by the Grand Forks Board of County Commissioners to deny the Housing Authority's applications for abatement of real estate taxes and denying its motion to remand for consideration of additional evidence. The Housing Authority argues substantial evidence does not support the Board's factual findings and asserts the Board's decision to deny the Housing Authority's tax abatement applications is arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. The Housing Authority further argues the district court's denial of its motion to remand for consideration of additional evidence constitutes an abuse of discretion. We hold substantial evidence supports the Board's decision to deny the Housing Authority's tax abatement applications, the Board's decision was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the Housing Authority's motion to remand. We affirm.

I

[¶2] The Housing Authority is an agency that provides low- and moderate-income housing to families within Grand Forks County. It owns certain properties located at 770 14th Street South and 1424 8th Avenue South in Grand Forks, known as the Ruth Meiers properties. The properties are used for an adolescent treatment center.

[¶3] In October 2008, the Housing Authority applied for an abatement of real estate taxes paid on these properties in 2006 and 2007 and for an exemption from taxation for 2008. The Grand Forks City Council met on May 18, 2009, to review the applications. After considering the evidence before it, the City Council determined the properties should be exempted from taxation for 2008, but found that the 2006 and 2007 payments were voluntary payments in lieu of taxes or special assessments made "pursuant to an agreement and/or understanding between the City and the [Housing Authority]." Accordingly, the City Council recommended the Board approve the request for exemption and deny the applications for tax abatement.

[ΒΆ4] The Board met on July 7, 2009, to consider the Housing Authority's requests for tax exemption and abatement and to review the documents and testimony provided in support of those requests. The documents provided by the Housing Authority for consideration by the Board consisted of a 1,580-page record and included the minutes of various City Council's hearings, the report of the Grand Forks City Assessor, and the recommendation of the Grand Forks County Tax Equalization Director. The testimony offered at the meeting included statements from Assistant City Attorney John A. Warcup, Attorney Russell Melland who represents the Housing Authority, and Grand Forks City Assessor Mel Carsen. After considering the evidence before it, the Board found the 2006 and 2007 payments were voluntary payments in lieu of taxes and ...


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