Plains Marketing, LP and Van Hook Crude Terminal, LLC, Appellants
Mountrail County Board of County Commissioners, Appellee
from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Douglas L. Mattson, Judge.
W. Green (argued) and Daniel W. Barker (appeared), Helena,
MT, for appellants.
Enget, Stanley, N.D., for appellee.
Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale
V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.
Ronning Kapsner, Justice.
[¶1] Plains Marketing, LP and Van Hook Crude
Terminal, LLC, appeal from an order affirming a Mountrail
County Board of County Commissioners' decision denying
their application for an abatement of 2013 real estate taxes
for three parcels of land in Mountrail County. They argue
this Court should reverse the County Board's denial of
their application for an abatement because the County Board
incorrectly applied the omitted property provisions in
N.D.C.C. ch. 57-14. We agree and reverse the order.
[¶2] The issue raised in this appeal
involves the 2013 real estate assessments for three parcels
of land in Mountrail County owned by Plains Marketing and Van
Hook. The Van Hook Crude Terminal is located on one of the
parcels and the Manitou LPG Rail Terminal is located on the
other two parcels. The terminals are loading facilities used
to transfer oil and liquid petroleum gas resources into rail
cars. Each parcel was substantially improved between the 2012
and 2013 assessments, and Mountrail County hired Thomas Y.
Pickett and Associates to value the improvements for the 2013
tax year. Pickett issued reports valuing the parcels,
including the improvements, and the Mountrail County Assessor
adopted Pickett's valuations and issued notices of
increases in the real estate assessment for each parcel in
May 2013. The 2013 assessments increased the assessed
valuation for each parcel by three thousand dollars or more
and ten percent or more from the 2012 assessed valuation, and
Mountrail County concedes it failed to timely notify the
property owners of a local board of equalization meeting
under N.D.C.C. § 57-12-09, now codified at N.D.C.C.
§ 57-02-53, before issuing the May 2013 notices of
increases to the property owners. See Fisher v. Golden
Valley Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs, 226 N.W.2d 636, 647
(N.D. 1975) (holding notice requirement of N.D.C.C. §
57-12-09 is jurisdictional, and if notice is not provided to
property owners, any increase in assessed valuation exceeding
specified percent of previous assessed valuation is invalid).
The property owners appealed the increased valuations to the
Mountrail County Board, and the County Board adopted the
assessed valuations in the assessor's notices of
[¶3] The property owners appealed to the
State Board of Equalization, claiming the assessments
included exempt personal property and they did not receive
timely notice of the increases in the assessments under
N.D.C.C. § 57-12-09. The State Board ordered a reduction
of the 2013 valuations of the three parcels to the 2012 true
and full values of the improvements. The State Board's
[Counsel] reviewed the notice of increased assessment with
what constituted proper notice, and what the consequences
were if an entity failed to provide proper notice. If an
assessor increased the true and full valuation of any lot or
tract of land including any improvements thereon by three
thousand dollars or more and to ten percent or more than the
amount of the last assessment, written notice of the amount
of increase must be delivered in writing by the assessor to
the property owner, or mailed in writing to the property
owner. Delivery of notice to the property owner must be
completed not fewer than fifteen days before the meeting of
the local equalization board. [Counsel] stated if notice is
not received as prescribed by ...