Frequently Asked Questions

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Below you will find a list of questions we are frequently asked.  Click on the question to jump to the answer.  The questions are sorted alphabetically, but you may filter the list by selecting a department or category from the 2 drop-down boxes.
  • If I have a gravel driveway now, do I have to pave it?
    No. Existing gravel driveways are not required to be improved with asphalt or concrete.
  • Are predatory offenders wanted by the police?
    Generally, no. Community notification is not part of the offender's punishment for an offense. Most sex offenders residing in the community have served the prison or jail times imposed on them and have been properly released to live in the community. Although many of these offenders are still under some form of correctional supervision (i.e., probation or supervised release), some are not.
  • Are property taxes the only way that the city takes in money?
    Cities have several sources of revenue, but the two largest sources are property taxes and state revenue sharing. Property taxes are collected from the owners of homes, businesses, and farms within the city. State aid dollars, such as local government aid and municipal state aid for roads, are funded by the sales taxes, income taxes, and gas taxes that we all pay to the state. Some of those dollars are redistributed to cities through revenue sharing.

     Cities also get money from a few other sources. One source of revenue is fees. Some examples of common fees that people pay to cities are for: dog licenses, building permits, use of the community pool, fines for failure to remove snow from the sidewalk, and water and sewer services. Cities also get some money from grants. These come from the state or federal government and are used for very specific purposes such as a building improvement.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • Are there any registration exemptions?
    Yes, campus dormitory and campus residence units, hospital units, nursing home units, retirement home units, or other similar units which are otherwise licensed by the state or city.
  • Aren't assessed values supposed to be $20,000 less than what I could sell my house for?

    The State of Minnesota is a 100% Market Value state, meaning assessed values are required to be estimated as close to 100% of full market value as possible.

    Every year, the Minnesota Department of Revenue conducts a sales study to ensure every jurisdiction (township, city, and county) maintains compliance with this requirement. The overall Estimated Market Values for each class of property (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Apartments, and Agricultural) should be within 90% to 105% of actual sale prices. Otherwise, the Department of Revenue may order the assessor to adjust property values across the board in a jurisdiction. This standard is held so no property owner pays more or less than their fair share of the property tax burden in their township, city, school district, county, and state.

    In the grand scheme, whether all properties are assessed 10% below or 10% above their full market value, the resulting property taxes payable for each property would change very little. The City, County, Schools, EDA, and Watershed District all levy the dollar amounts necessary for operation each year. Those dollar amounts are then dispersed amongst the taxable value throughout each taxing district.

    In theory, assessed values could be estimated at half of their full market value across the board and it would change taxes payable for each property very little. Taxing districts set their budgets independently of any value assumptions. In this scenario, the budgeted amounts for each taxing district would not change, so in order to collect these funds, the tax rate would double to achieve the levied dollar amount.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Can a tenant in a rental unit in the 3-hour zone apply for a Residential Parking Permit?
    No. The property owner must make the application and determine how the permit will be shared between the tenants living in a rental unit.
  • Can I burn leaves at my Oakport home?
    Yes.  Between September 15 and December 1, leaf burning is allowed in the Oakport neighborhood as conditions permit.  Instead of getting a permit from the Dilworth Fire Department, get a no-cost permit from the Moorhead Fire Department so the Department is aware of open burning activities. 
  • Can I move to another city and still keep my Section 8?
    A Housing Choice Voucher is portable to another city.  If you are considering moving, you should contact the Section 8 staff where you applied for your voucher so there is not a delay in your assistance.
  • Can I operate a a business out of my home?
    Yes! As long as you reside there and have minimal customer or truck traffic. You may also have one outside employee and a sign posted on the structure of 16 square feet or less.
  • Can two or more relatives work for the City of Moorhead at the same time?

    The City of Moorhead restricts employment of more than one member of a family or persons related by blood or marriage if it creates a supervisory relationship. Employment of a family member refers to spouse, parent (including in-law), grandparents, aunts and uncles, children, sibling (including step and in-law), nieces and nephews, and significant others. There may be other sensitive positions or situations where placement of an employee’s family member is inappropriate and will not be allowed.

  • Can undeveloped property in Oakport be subdivided for development?
    Yes. Subdivision are regulated by Moorhead subdivision standards and guided by the North Moorhead/Oakport Township Future Land Use Map.
  • Do I have to register my rental property every year?
    Yes, you will have an annual registration fee and inspection. Thirty (30) days prior to December 31 of the current calendar year, the City will mail you or the local manager the registration renewal forms for you to complete and return with payment. Renewal payment is also available online. The City will not register a rental unit unless the owner is current on property taxes, Moorhead Public Services bills, and any other obligations to the City.
  • Do I have to register my rental property?
    Yes, if you are accepting anything in exchange for housing, you are required to register your property. This includes a monetary payment, paying for groceries, utilities, groceries, providing services, or property maintenance. Registration and inspection must be completed before a tenant moves into your property. If you are still not sure, please contact the Community Services Department at 218.299.5434.
  • Do I need a building permit for a fence and where can I have a fence?
    Fences are allowed in residential districts, up to the property line.  No permits are required unless the fence is more than 7 feet tall.  Refer to the Moorhead City Code for the ordinance regulating fences.
  • Do I need a building permit to put a shed in my yard?
    Building permits are required for any accessory building over 200 square feet.  Regardless of size and if a permit is required, zoning regulations apply.
  • Do I need a building permit to shingle my roof?
    Yes.
  • Do I need a business license to operate in Moorhead?
    Most business do not need a license to operate in Moorhead. Licenses are required for selling used cars, cigarettes, food, vending, liquor, lodging, and for most contractor or installation work in homes or businesses. Apply for a business license.
  • Do I need a permit to install a heating appliance in my home and can I install it myself?
    A mechanical permit is required for installation of all permanent heating and cooling appliances.  Minnesota State Code does allow a homeowner to install their own heating and cooling appliances.
  • Do I need a permit to install a replacement water heater?
    A plumbing permit is required to install a water heater.
  • Do I need a permit to install electrical devises within my home?
    An electrical permit is required and may be obtained by calling the Minnesota State Electrical Inspector, Rod Schaffer, at 701-235-2840.
  • Do I need a pet license for my dog or cat?
    Dogs and cats do need to be licensed annually.  You will need to provide current rabies vaccination information from your veterinarian.  You can license your pet online or in person at the Police Department
  • Do I need flood insurance?
    For information on the National Flood Insurance Program, please contact a local insurance agent. Note that there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to take effect once purchased.
  • Do residents have to follow the 3-hour parking requirements?
    Yes, except that property owners with homes on streets adjacent to the 3-hour zone may apply for a permit (one per property) to exempt one vehicle from the 3-hour parking restriction in the block adjacent to their home. All other vehicles must follow the parking requirements posted on the streets for the scheduled restriction periods. Three hour limits are not in place during evenings, weekends, or summers when the parking congestion is not typically a problem.
  • Does the City of Moorhead help with sanitary sewer service repairs?
    The City of Moorhead does have a policy to assist with cost participation or voluntary special assessments in the event of a sewer line break or collapse.  The type of assistance available depends on the location of the damaged sewer pipe (public or private property).  Please note, qualifying repairs will not be reimbursed retroactively.  Your first step should be to contact the wastewater division by phone at 218.299.5386 or email
  • How can I find out what the City Council will be discussing at an upcoming meeting?
    You can see a draft of upcoming City Council meeting agenda items on the City Council Meetings page.
  • How can I get help paying my property taxes?

    The state has increased funding for direct property tax relief over the last few years. There are a few different programs through which property owners and renters can get help with their property taxes. These programs provide state-paid refunds for qualifying property owners. There is another program in which seniors can defer some of the property taxes that they owe.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • How can I give input on an issue of interest to me?

    Citizens can provide input on an issue of interest in any of the following ways:

    • Contact a Council Member directly. Contact information (including phone and email) can be found on the Mayor & Council page
    • Write a letter. Send or deliver a letter to City Hall, 500 Center Avenue, P.O. Box 779, Moorhead, MN, 56561-0779. It will be routed to the Mayor and/or Council Member as addressed.
    • Personally address the City Council at a Council Meeting. The City Council welcomes and encourages public input on issues listed on Council agendas or of general community interest.
      • Citizens wishing to address the Mayor and Council regarding a specific agenda item will be afforded an opportunity during the discussion of that item.
      • Citizens wishing to speak on matters not listed on the agenda will be afforded the opportunity to do so under the agenda heading “Citizens Addressing the Council”.
      • Each person requesting the opportunity to speak is asked to fill out a “Request to Speak Form” and present it to the City Clerk. This yellow form is located on the table just outside of Council Chambers.
      • When called upon by the Mayor, citizens will be asked to approach the podium/microphone and give his/her name and address.
      • All remarks should be addressed to the Council as a body, and not to any particular member.
      • Speakers will be limited to three minutes.

  • How can I learn the code requirements for common remodeling projects?
    Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has several brochures providing guidance and explaining code requirements for common remodeling projects. Check them out!
  • How can I obtain information about level III offenders living in my community?

    Information about Level III offenders is posted on the Department of Corrections website.

  • How can I receive notifications on City of Moorhead employment opportunities?

    Sign up to receive Job Posting Notices.  You can select the categories of job postings that you would like to receive emails about including law enforcement, fire service, clerical, skilled/trades, seasonal employment opportunities and more!

  • How do I apply for public housing?
    You are able to apply for public housing on the website by clicking on How to Apply at the top of this page.  If you need further assistance, you can call 218.299.5458.
  • How do I apply for Section 8?
    The Section 8 waiting list is currently closed.  When it opens, we will post information on the website as well as in the Fargo Forum.
  • How do I claim Veterans’ Preference for employment?

    State law outlines how veterans’ preference is applied to qualified candidates. If you are claiming veterans’ preference, you must submit proof of your eligibility (such as form DD214) along with your application for employment.

  • How do I get a federal tax ID number?
  • How do I get a state tax ID number?
  • How do I learn about the City of Moorhead’s flood preparation?

    The most up-to-date information is posted to cityofmoorhead.com. Use the FLOOD INFO button on the homepage. Please sign up to receive emergency and non-emergency information directly:

    • Sign up for eNotification – Service Alerts is the category that will be used for flood messages
    • Sign up for Code Red
  • How do I pass my initial inspection to avoid reinspection costs?
    Conduct your own preinspection before the city inspection appointment. Address any obvious issues that need repair or updating. For guidance, review the Common Code Issues Checklist, as well as the Property Maintenance Checklist.
  • How do I register a business name in Minnesota?
    The Minnesota Secretary of State website offers you a step-by-step instructions to assist you in starting your business, including registering your business name. Visit their website for more information. 
  • How do I register my rental property?
    1. Complete the Registration Application
    2. Review the Common Code Issues Checklist prior to your inspection, which will be scheduled by the City.
    3. Pay your registration fee.
    4. Upon inspection and approval, your property will be registered. 
    5. Renew rental registrations annually.  
  • How do I volunteer to help my community during the flood?

    Please visit the Volunteer page to find detailed information and for online registration.

  • How does my value relate to taxes?

    In Minnesota, values for every property are estimated on January 2nd every year. That value is what is used to determine a property owner's fair share of the property tax burden the following year. Think of the entire tax base (all properties paying property taxes in a taxing district) as a pie. The value and classification of one property is a part of the entire pie within a taxing district (in our case, the City of Moorhead, Clay County, Moorhead Public Schools, Moorhead Economic Development Authority, and the Buffalo Watershed District are the taxing districts). The tax levy (or budget) for each of these taxing districts is then dispersed amongst its tax base according to each property's piece of the pie.

    So, to put this in perspective, a 5% increase or decrease in value does not necessarily mean a 5% increase or decrease in taxes. Each taxing district budgets for what they need to operate and provide services each year. That dollar amount is then dispersed according to value. It's possible that a property's value could increase and the property tax bill decrease or vice versa.

    To put it another way: If every property's value were to be reduced by 50%, but each taxing district's budget remained the same; the amount of tax each property owner would pay would remain relatively the same. If every property's value doubled, but each taxing district's budget remained the same; the amount of tax each property owner would pay would remain relatively the same as well.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • How does the city decide how much to collect in property taxes?

    Cities look at their costs—like gasoline, road salt, salaries, and building repairs. They also determine the amount of money the city needs to provide the services residents expect and depend on. Councils then examine the dollars coming into the city from other sources—like fees people pay to use the recreation center or to license their dogs, grants from state and federal governments, and state revenue sharing. Property taxes make up the gap between money coming in from non-tax sources and the money needed to run the city. Other local governments (e.g., counties, schools) go through a similar process to set their property tax amounts.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

     

  • How does the City determine my special assessment?

    City policy strives to create equity among all property owners.  On average, approximately 25-35% of street project costs are paid through special assessments.  On average, approximately 65-75% of street project costs are paid through federal funds, MSA funds, and property taxes.

    Primary Benefit Rates

    • Paid for the street you abut/access (typically the short side of the property)
    • Assessment rates ($/adjusted front foot) are based on type of project (mill & overlay, rehabilitation, reconstruction) and set by City Council annually

    Secondary Benefit Rates

    • Paid for minor arterial and collector streets
      • Higher volume streets that “connect” you to other parts of the City
      • Every property participates in projects associated with two collector/minor arterial streets (typically one North-South and one East-West)
    • Assessment rate ($/equivalent single family property) is fixed, regardless of project type 
  • How does the City of Moorhead publish important news and notices?
    Legal and public notices will be published in the City’s official newspaper, the FM Extra.  If you would like to receive notices, service alerts, and other City of Moorhead communications directly through email, subscribe to e-Notification
  • How does the city—or any local government—decide what services to provide?

    City councils review the services they currently provide and think about what local preferences are and what population trends suggest about the kinds of services people will need. For example, one community might favor running its own pool while another does not see the need. Communities with lots of young families need to offer different kinds of services than communities seeing big increases in the number of senior residents. Sometimes cities have to provide certain services in order to comply with state or federal laws. Some common examples are requirements for testing drinking water and making public buildings accessible to people with disabilities.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • How does the state affect my property taxes?
    State law spells out all aspects of the property tax system. All properties within cities are classified as one of more than 50 types according to the system set by state policymakers. Property types include home, commercial, apartment building, farm, bed and breakfast, railroad, and duplex. Each property type is assigned a classification rate. This indicates what portion of the property’s value is taxable.
    The state also implements programs, such as fiscal disparities and tax increment financing, which can affect tax bills. The fiscal disparities programs operate in the metro area and on the Iron Range. Through these programs, part of the tax dollars that cities collect are from the regional tax base. This shifts some of the tax burden. With tax increment financing, cities can finance public improvements over time with the tax dollars collected on new development such as an industrial park.
    The state also imposes mandates that require cities and other local governments to do certain things. These mandates can increase costs for cities and counties. Many mandates are for good reasons, like the rules to maintain clean drinking water. But they do result in pressure on city budgets.
    From time to time, the state Legislature has also imposed “levy limits” on larger cities and counties.

    In some cases, these limits can require cities and counties to reduce the amount of property tax dollars they collect.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • How far do I have to move my car to avoid a ticket in a 3-hour zone?
    The car must be moved at least one City block for the 3-hour time period to be restarted.
  • How long does the hiring process take for permanent positions?

    Employment decisions can take two-three months to fill a position due to several regulated steps required, interview procedures, background checks and pre-employment practices. We appreciate candidate’s patience in the employment process and appreciate your interest in employment with us. Notifications of non-selection for permanent positions will be made via email upon acceptance of hire by a candidate.

  • How long has rental registration been required?
    The City of Moorhead has required rental registration for over 40 years.
  • How long will a project take?

    It depends on the type of the project:

    • Mill & overlay projects typically take 2 to 4 weeks
    • Rehabilitation projects (full pavement replacement, keeping existing curb & gutter) typically take 6 to 10 weeks
    • Full reconstruction projects (with curb & gutter replacement) typically take 12 to 16 weeks 
  • How many cats and dogs can I have at my home?

    You may have no more than 3 dogs and/or 3 cats over six months of age (3 pets total). There is an exception to this limit, you may request a permit from the police department to have an additional 2 dogs or cats as part of a qualified home associated with an organization for rescue or sheltering of abandoned or lost animals. Time limits and additional requirements do apply. Animal control is included in Title 3 Chapter 7 of the Moorhead City Code

  • How much do I pay for rent?
    Your rent is based on 30% of your gross adjusted income.  The Moorhead PHA staff will determine your exact rent amount.
  • How much is the fee to register a rental?

    See the Fee Schedule

  • How often does my value change?

    In Minnesota, property values are estimated annually as of January 2nd. Due to the large amount of sales activity for residential properties in Moorhead and the highly automated assessment systems, it is likely for residential property values to change every year. With large amounts of sales, segments of the market can be adequately adjusted annually to reflect the most current sales activity.

    These values are estimated as of January 2nd every year and reported on the Valuation Notice insert included with the annual property tax statement mailed to property owners around April 1st.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • How valuable is the Homestead Exclusion?

    Based on the current estimated 2018 property tax rates, the Homestead Exclusion can be worth up to $378 in savings annually. That maximum savings is reached by a property whose estimated market value is $76,000. Once value reaches $76,000, the exclusion is gradually reduced until being phased out at a value of $413,800.

    Annual Tax Savings Due

    The Homestead Exclusion can also be applied to a property even if the owner is not occupying the property, but a qualifying relative is (Relative Homestead). Qualifying relatives of the owner or spouse of the owner include:

    1. Parents
    2. Grandparents
    3. Siblings
    4. Children
    5. Grandchildren
    6. Aunts & Uncles
    7. Nieces & Nephews

    Relative Homesteads do qualify for the Homestead Exclusion and reduced classification rate, but do not qualify for the property tax refund, disabled veteran’s market value exclusion, or senior citizen's property tax deferral programs.

    Again, additional savings can still be recognized for those homestead properties valued over $418,300 via the reduced classification rate of 1% as opposed to the non-homestead rate of 1.25%, the property tax refund, disabled veteran's market value exclusion, and senior citizen's property tax deferral programs

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • How will future flood mitigation issues be addressed in Oakport?

    The City of Moorhead Engineering Department will continue to advance flood control to minimize flood risk in Oakport and the rest of the City of Moorhead by:

    1. Analyzing alternatives
    2. Estimating costs, funding sources, and allocation of costs
    3. Gathering public input
    4. Making recommendations to the City Council

    Moorhead’s Engineering Department will evaluate pending projects and support projects that meet the community’s flood mitigation goals.  After initial public input in September 2016, further funding evaluation of and coordination by residents affected by the North Moorhead Flood Mitigation Project is in process.

  • I get several property tax statements each year. How do I make sense of them?
    Generally, three statements are sent to property owners each year: one in November, and two statements generally in March or April. The November statement shows you the amount of taxes local governments are proposing to collect in the following year. It will include an estimate of what your tax bill will be. Local governments can decrease the amount of taxes they will collect as they finalize their budgets, but they cannot increase the amount after this notice goes out, except in very limited circumstances such as natural disasters.
    The second notice that you receive generally in March or April is a notice of the estimated value of your property and the property’s “use” classification (e.g., homestead, apartment, commercial, etc.), which is also known as the property assessment. All property is valued at its market value and classified according to its use on Jan. 2 of each year. Any improvements or destruction made to a property after Jan. 2 will be evaluated for the following year’s assessment.

    The valuation of your property provided on the annual valuation notice is not used to compute your property taxes until the next calendar year. So, the spring 2014 valuation notice will be used for taxes payable in 2015. This is because all property owners have the right to challenge the valuation of the property. Information on how to contest a property’s valuation is contained on the valuation notice.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • I have a specific question about flooding related to my property. Who do I contact?

    Email flood@cityofmoorhead.com or call 218.299.5300 during regular business hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

  • I have an old junk car that I don’t want anymore. How do I dispose of it?

    Clay County Environmental Programs offers free removal of junked or unused cars and trucks.  For additional information, contact Clay County Solid Waste at 218.299.7329 or ccsw@co.clay.mn.us.

  • I own a house that my daughter and her family lives in, do I need to register it as a rental?
    No, Moorhead does not require rental registration and inspection if the owner of the unit lives off-premise and occupants of unit are related to the owner.
  • I own a house that my son and his college roommates live in, do I need to register it as a rental?
    Yes, Moorhead does require rental registration and inspection if the owner of the house has unrelated roommates.
  • I’ve been looking forward to lower electric rates in Oakport. When will that happen?

    Oakport residents receive Moorhead Public Service (MPS) electric service and MPS rates once electric service is transferred to MPS.  MPS has acquired the electric service territory from Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association (RRVCPA), and is in the process of acquiring the electric service territory from Xcel Energy.  Electric service territory is expected to be transferred from Xcel Energy to MPS by September 30, 2017.  Sign up for e-Notification (Oakport Annexation) for updates as they become available.  

  • If I make an improvement or addition to my house, will I pay more in property taxes?

    In some cases, yes, but not necessarily. The change in your tax bill depends on a lot of factors other than changes in the value of your home. It is also affected by things like whether all the properties in the city taken together (tax base) grow or shrink in value, whether the local governments collect more or less money in property tax, and changes to the tax system state lawmakers make. For example, let’s say you add a bedroom to your home, and its value increases by $20,000. If local governments don’t change how much property tax they need to collect and the rest of the tax base is unchanged, then you will pay more in property tax because your property is now a bigger piece of the pie. But if the tax base as a whole increases in value—maybe a new development was built—then your piece of the pie may not be bigger and you may not pay more in tax.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

     

  • If I pay $300,000 for my house, will it automatically be taxed on that?

    Not necessarily. Each sale that occurs in Moorhead becomes part of an annual sales study which is used to set values each year. One residential sale alone will not be the only indicator of Moorhead's housing market, especially if there are other comparable sales of similar properties.

    That one sale will surely be used in conjunction with other comparable properties to set values for a segment of the market. A house that sells for 10% more than its assessed value does not necessarily mean its value will automatically increase 10% the next year. In the same regard, a house that sells for 10% less than its assessed value does not necessarily mean its value will automatically decrease 10% the next year. If a house and many other comparable homes are consistently selling for more or less than the assessed values, it's likely that those types of homes' values will trend in the direction of the sale prices.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • If Maintenance repairs something and I’m not home, how do I know they fixed it?
    Maintenance will leave a note notifying you they have been there
  • If my car is towed, how do I get it back?
     During normal business hours, contact the Police Department at 218.299.5120 to pay the fees and arrange a time to release the car.
  • If my property is served by a private well, do I need to connect to Moorhead Public Service water?
    No. 
  • In some flood events, there has been a need for property owners to plug drains. Will that be the case this year?
    There have been a number of stormwater gates installed since 2009, and there is not currently a need to plug drains. You should, however, ensure that your sump pump is draining outside and not into the sanitary sewer.
  • Is hunting allowed in Oakport?
    Hunting is allowed on private property and on public property with these restrictions: 
    • Hunters must have proper Minnesota license in possession and follow all carry and transport laws for weapons.

    • Hunter must obtain permission of the private property owner and/or Buffalo Red River Watershed Board if using their land.
      • Firearms
        • Shotgun only for deer with slug (single projectile) from elevated stand of 5 feet.
        • Waterfowl and Turkey hunting from ground level is acceptable within normal state restrictions.
        • Must be at least 500 feet from any human occupied buildings, public right of way, or livestock unless hunter has written permission of land owner.
      • Archery
        • Ground level hunting is acceptable within normal state restrictions.
        • Must be at least 200 feet away from human occupied buildings, public right of way, or livestock unless hunter has written permission of land owner.
        • Target practice is allowed
          • Must be 200 feet from any buildings not owned by target shooter unless has written permission from landowner.
          • A suitable back stop is required.
          • Can be inside a building with a suitable backstop.
    • Hunters must remove field dressing entrails on public lands and within 200 feet of property lines if on private lands in order not to attract predators and to avoid unsightliness.
  • Is it okay to take steps to try to get a predatory offender to leave the community?
    No. The community notification law is a civil law aimed at furthering public safety and is not considered punishment. The harassment of individuals subject to community notification by community members could lead to a court deciding that the law is punishment and unconstitutional in certain cases; if this happened, Minnesota's ability to conduct community notification on predatory offenders would be significantly reduced.
  • Is there an emergency siren in the Oakport Tract 2 area?
    An emergency warning siren has been installed in the Oakport Tract 2 area. 
  • Last year, the taxes I had to pay to the county and school district were lower, but the taxes I had to pay to the city stayed about the same. Why did that happen?

    One of the factors that affects whether your tax bill goes up or down is the change in value of all property within the taxing jurisdiction. In recent years, the value of farm property has grown significantly faster than that of other kinds of property such as residential homes and businesses. The property taxes collected by the county and the school districts are collected from a larger geographical area that includes many more farms than are the taxes collected by the city. That means the county and school district taxes get spread across a bigger tax base when those farm values increase, and your share of the tax pie for county and school district property tax shrinks. Your share of the city tax pie, though, may remain about the same.

      ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • LIVE BURN – Are spectators allowed to watch during the live burns?

    Yes.  Visitors are allowed to watch during the live burns.  We are asking all visitors to stay on the South of 9th Ave N.  The parking lot of the Courthouse and the sidewalks along the south side of 9th Ave N might be natural places to watch.  There are no good places to simply park your vehicle and watch from inside a car.

  • LIVE BURN – Is this burn training safe for the environment?

    Permits have been applied for and approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and proper notification has been given to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  Hazardous substances such as asbestos, mercury, and other listed substances were removed from the properties after a thorough inspection by licensed contractors in accordance with MPCA rules.  The burned remains will be deposited in the Clay County Sanitary Landfill, a lined landfill also in accordance with MPCA regulations for burned materials.

  • LIVE BURN – Isn’t there an alternative way of conducting this training that won’t impact the neighborhood?

    In the case of fire investigation training, there is no substitute for conducting experimental and experiential training in conditions fire investigators will find when working back in their jurisdictions.  The Clay County Courthouse Campus Expansion project provides us with a very rare opportunity.  There are no homes immediately adjacent to the building we are burning in.  There is a full block of buffer in all directions, and in some directions, several blocks before home are impacted.  This is about the lowest possible level of impact we can envision in a developed city.  These conditions cannot be simulated in classrooms or laboratories without great expense.  The training is so valuable, that fire investigators are attending from across Minnesota and North Dakota.

  • LIVE BURN - Should I be concerned about hazardous substances in the smoke?

    Our personnel wear Self Contained Breathing Apparatus when they fight fires inside of structures because of highly concentrated smoke that contains some toxic materials and does not contain adequate oxygen to breathe. Firefighters that operate outside of, but within about 50 feet of burning structures also wear breathing protection because of the concentrated materials in the smoke.  Beyond that distance, our staff tends to operate without breathing protection as the smoke is dissipated by mixing with outdoor air and lifting higher into the atmosphere due to the heat contained in the smoke. The basic rule is the closer to the fire you are, the more hazardous the smoke is. 

  • LIVE BURN - What do I need to do if there are smoke odors in my neighborhood?
    If there are odors of smoke in your neighborhood that you find objectionable, you should first close your windows and doors.  You may also want to consider temporarily shutting down your Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning system to avoid drawing outside air into your home until the smoke odors have cleared.
  • LIVE BURN – What exactly will you be doing and when that might affect me?

    Wednesday evening, September 28th will have the greatest impact potential.  Our crews and Fire Technology students from M|State will begin arriving on-site at about 5:00 pm.  We will take quite a bit of time setting up for the final burn training.  We will be building controlled ignition stations with straw and wood pallets.  We will be laying out fire hoses, barricading off streets, and setting up the detour on 11th St N.  We plan to begin the actual fire training at about 6:00 pm, but this will vary based on the amount of prep time needed.  We want all preparation to be complete before we begin.

    Once ready we will ignite our first house. Keep in mind that two days of interior fire training will have already occurred by this point.  This last phase of training will be to complete a fill burn down of the structures.  The full burn down may take up to an hour for each of the homes.  The second home will be ignited when the fire in the first home has burned down to a safe level that no longer requires constant attention from our crews.  This will continue until all four homes have burned.

    Our crews may remain on-site for several hours while the fires smolder in the basements.  11th St N will reopen when conditions are no longer distracting.  The basements may continue to smolder for a couple of days before the remains are removed to an approved landfill.  

  • LIVE BURN – What should I do if I see something I think is unsafe during the live burns?

    If you are able to attract the attention of one of our fire department members during the training, feel free to communicate your concern.  If you cannot, or you feel it is not safe to do so, please call 911.  We would prefer to check out a hundred safety concerns that are actually safe upon investigation that have one safety problem cause an injury or property loss because someone felt they maybe shouldn’t call 911.

  • LIVE BURN – Why are firefighters wearing different kinds of clothing?

    The Moorhead Fire Department is also working with students of the fire technology program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College to provide them practical fire fighting experience during this training.  They wear many different kinds of fire fighting clothing donated from many area departments.

  • LIVE BURN – Why is 11th St N being closed?

    We are burning four homes on Wednesday, September 27th, 2016 beginning at or after 5:00 pm.  Safety is a primary consideration for us. The burns will be spectacular at times and will be very distracting for drivers.  When the home at 1120 9th Ave N is burned, smoke conditions may also cause hazardous travel.  We expect to detour traffic from about 6:00 pm until about 10:00 pm.

  • My neighbor’s lawn hasn’t been mowed yet this season. How can this be addressed?

    The City does conduct code enforcement for weeds and mowing violations. If you notice a property in Moorhead that has tall grass or noxious weeds and are not comfortable speaking to the property owner directly, please make a report or call the Neighborhood Services Division at 218.299.5434. Your name will not be released to the property owner.

  • Some of the local news coverage talks about city budgets and other coverage talks about city levies. Are they the same thing?

    The property tax levy is the amount of money that the city (or other local government) decides it needs to collect from property owners in order to deliver services. Property taxes, however, are just part of the overall city budget. The budget includes both discretionary spending (for services the city is free to choose to provide) and non-discretionary spending (to meet obligations such as paying off debt). The budget includes all the dollars that the city collects from various sources—fees, grants, revenue sharing, and property taxes.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • The Oakport property I own has a recorded Conditional Use Permit allowing horses. Did the annexation impact the Conditional Use Permit?
    No.  If your property has a recorded Conditional Use Permit (CUP) allowing horses, the CUP will continue to apply.  Furthermore, if the property is sold, the CUP will apply to future owners.
  • There is something labeled “homestead exclusion” on my tax statement. What is that?

    A relatively new state program excludes some of the value of many residential homesteads from property taxes, meaning taxes are not paid on that portion. The statement will show you how much of the assessed value of your homestead is excluded from taxation.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • UPDATED: Are Oakport residents paying City of Moorhead streetlight fees?

    All Oakport properties in the Xcel service territory are now charged the same Street Light Utility Fee as other Moorhead residents pay.  The City of Moorhead Street Light Utility fee finances the cost of operating and maintaining all street lights citywide.  This fee is not based on the number of street lights on or near your property, but similar to fees for Pest and Forestry services, the program is structured to provide street lights citywide for the benefit of the entire community.  Single family homes, multifamily apartments, and businesses pay for street lights according to the approved City of Moorhead fee schedule.

  • UPDATED: What is the plan for streetlights in Oakport Tract 2?

    At this time, there are no additional street lights planned within the Tract 2 area.  Residents may also request placement of new street lights by submitting a street light request form

  • We live out of state during the winter months and let our house while we are away, does it need to be registered?
    Yes, if the occupants are unrelated to the owner, Moorhead requires rental registration and inspection while you are away.
  • What are the consequences of not constructing street projects?
    • Continued street deterioration
      • Increased wear & tear on vehicles
      • Increased maintenance costs for the City (paid via property taxes)
      • Unsafe conditions
      • Damage to underground utilities
    • Higher future special assessments
      • More expensive repair (for example reconstruction instead of rehabilitation)
      • Increased construction costs (due to inflation)
  • What are the future plans for existing and new roads in Oakport?

    Existing roads aree maintained through a joint agreement of Clay County and the City of Moorhead Public Works Department.  The City of Moorhead Engineering Department conducts ongoing, long range planning for transportation issues.  The transportation needs in Oakport are now part of citywide planning.

  • What are the hours of the Snow Removal District parking restrictions?
    The snow district restrictions follow the day and time of the posted road maintenance schedule. You may check on whether a Snow Removal Declaration is in effect at any time.
  • What are the requirements for disability parking permit?
  • What are the requirements to register rental property?
    Current on property taxes, Moorhead Public Services bills, and any other obligations to the City.
  • What are the various risk levels and what do they mean?

    There are three levels, as follows:

    • Level I offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a low risk of re-offense.
    • Level II offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a moderate risk of re-offense.
    • Level III offenders have a risk assessment score that indicates a high risk of re-offense.
    • Unassigned offenders have not been through the Minnesota Penitentiary System and thus assigned a risk level. These Offenders from other states are treated as Level II offenders.
  • What benefits are provided to employees?

    Full-time employees receive a number of benefits. The City of Moorhead provides employer-paid contributions toward health insurance, basic life insurance, and public retirement program. Additional elective benefits are also available to employees. Visit Employee Benefits for further details.

  • What data about applicants for employment are public?

    According to state law, applicant data is private except when the applicant is certified as eligible for appointment to a vacancy or when applicants are finalists for a position in public employment. The following data on applicants is public: veteran status, job history, education and training, relevant test scores, rank on eligible list, and work availability.

  • What do City Forestry charges pay for?

    Monthly forestry fees cover:

    • Planting and replacement of trees throughout the city in new and existing neighborhoods on boulevards, rights-of-way, and city parks
    • Dutch Elm Disease Program: monitoring public and private lots (including the river corridor), removal of diseased elms and risk trees from boulevards and parks
    • Seasonal curbside branch collection and Christmas tree collection
    • Cyclical boulevard tree trimming
    • Storm response to clear streets and sidewalks
    • Consultation with the City Forester

  • What do I do if I get married, divorced or have a child?

    If you have a change in your household composition, you must report that change within 30 days to the Section 8 Staff.

  • What do I do if I need something fixed in my apartment?
    You can call 218.299.5458 during working hours or 701.799.8791 after working hours. The after hour line is only for emergency maintenance situations.
  • What do I do if I need something fixed in my house?
    You should contact your landlord.
  • What do I do if I’m locked out of my apartment?

    During Moorhead PHA working hours, call 218.299.5458.  If it’s after hours, call Dispatch phone at 218.299.8791.

  • What do I do if my income changes?
    If you reside in public housing and have a change in income, you must report it to the MPHA within 10 days.
  • What do I do if my landlord isn’t maintaining the property?
    First, inform your landlord in writing of the problem using the Request for Repairs Form. If the problem persists after 14 days, submit a copy of the form to the City. If you have a life-safety concern such as a broken furnace, sewer back up, or electrical problems, you may contact our office at any time if you haven’t heard back from your landlord. If it’s an emergency, call 911.
  • What do I get for my property taxes?

    Local governments get the money they use to deliver services from a few different sources: property taxes, fees, revenue sharing with the state, and grants. Property tax dollars pay for the services that everyone in the community—as well as visitors, commuters, and tourists—can access. This includes things like streets, police and fire services, parks, and libraries. Other services—like economic development programs to help businesses grow and develop, snowplowing, garbage removal, and recycling are also typically paid for with property tax dollars.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • What do I have to do if I just purchased a rental property and want it to remain a rental property?
    • Every new owner of a rental unit (whether as fee owner or contract purchaser) must contact Neighborhood Services at 218.299.5434 and provide the new owner and manager’s name, address, and phone number before taking possession of the rental property. The property has to be inspected within thirty (30) days of the transfer of the rental property. There is a transfer fee assessed to you as determined by the City.
    • Every owner of property currently being utilized as a single-family housing unit, who is considering converting the property to a rental property, may have the property inspected prior to completing the conversion.
  • What do Moorhead Pest Control charges cover?

    Pest control fees cover animal and mosquito control and right-of-way maintenance. 

  • What do Moorhead Stormwater charges pay for?
    All City of Moorhead residents pay a monthly stormwater charge (currently $10.21 collected on the MPS utility billings) to manage the runoff from rain and snow melt.  The cost covers the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system located in the public rights of way.  The stormwater system includes catchbasins, manholes, storm sewers, public ditches, public culverts, stormwater ponds, and stormwater pumps stations which exist to varying degrees in both the City and Oakport. 
  • What does it mean when the Council approves the "Consent Agenda"?
    The City Manager places certain items of business on the consent agenda which are deemed to be routine and non-controversial in nature. Consent agenda items are noted with an asterisk ( * ). A member of the Council may remove any item from the consent agenda. Items removed shall become one of the regular agenda items of the meeting and is considered in its normal sequence on the agenda. All items which are not removed from the consent agenda are passed by a single, non-debatable motion.
  • What does the Street Light Utility charge pay for?

    The Street Light Utility fee finances operating and maintaining all street lights citywide.  This fee is not based on the number of street lights on or near your property, but similar to fees for Pest and Forestry services, the program is structured to provide street lights citywide for the benefit of the entire community.  Single family homes, multifamily apartments, and businesses pay for street lights according to the approved City of Moorhead fee schedule.  

  • What governments collect property taxes?
    Your property tax bill is a total of taxes owed to several local governments and, for some types of property,

    to the state. Cities, counties, school districts, and townships are separate governments. They all collect money through the property tax in order to provide services. Special districts, like watershed districts, also collect property taxes, but those taxes are usually a very small part of the total bill. The state collects property taxes from business property and seasonal/recreational property such as cabins.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • What happens if I don't allow the assessor to inspect my house, or if I am not home when they come?

    In general, there are two reasons why an assessor would come to your house and request an inspection. By statute in Minnesota the Assessor's Office is required to view every property at least once every five years. The Assessor's Office will typically view approximately 20% of the properties every year to achieve this requirement (referred to as "mass appraisal"). Additionally, if a property owner applies for a building permit to remodel, build or demolish a structure, the assessor will typically follow up with an inspection toward the end of the year or beginning of the following year in order to determine the value added or subtracted due to the project.

    If the property owner is not home at the time the assessor visits to request an inspection, a sticky note is left on the front door notifying the property owner that an assessor was there to inspect the property. It gives instructions on whom to call to schedule an appointment.

    If the property owner chooses not to call and schedule an appointment, reasonable assumptions are made by the assessor as to the quality and condition of the structures. These assumptions are typically based on the quality and condition of the exterior, what is typical for the neighborhood, what is typical for the style and age of home, past building permits, past inspection records and sales data if there was a recent sale of the subject property.

    A property owner may also refuse to allow interior access to the assessor upon the request of an inspection. Upon the refusal of access by a property owner, the assessor would again make reasonable assumptions to estimate the quality and condition of the property. A verbal or written refusal of access would also eliminate the ability of the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization to grant any reduction in value upon appeal by the property owner until that access is allowed.

    In either situation, no penalty is applied where the value would be treated any differently than that of a home that was inspected. The only downfall is the potential for some inaccuracies in either direction due to the assumptions made by the assessor.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • What happens if I lose my Residential Parking Permit?
    A replacement fee of $25.00 applies. The permit holder/property owner must complete a replacement permit application and file a police report to limit fraudulent redistribution and replacement of issued permits. An individual in possession of a stolen permit is subject to criminal prosecution.
  • What if I don't agree with my value?

    There are multiple opportunities to appeal if a property owner does not agree with the assessed value.

    Each April, Clay County mails out property tax statements to property owners for taxes payable that year. In that same envelope is a green sheet titled "Valuation Notice". This notifies the property owner of the current estimated market value which will be used to calculate taxes payable the following year.

    At that time, if a property owner does not agree with the current estimated market value, they should:

    1. Contact the assessor's office in order to:
      1. Verify information about the property, such as dimensions, age, and condition of its structures.
      2. Schedule an inspection to verify the physical characteristics of the property.
      3. Provide supporting documentation, such as a recent appraisal or recent sales of comparable properties.
      4. Be provided supporting documentation from the assessor in the form of comparable sales or other market analysis.
        1. Most issues and concerns can be resolved at this level, especially if the property owner has done their research prior to contacting the assessor.
    2. If the property owner and assessor are unable to agree on the property valuation, the next step for the property owner is to formally appeal, either in writing or in person, to the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE).
      1. The LBAE typically meets the 3rd week of April at Moorhead City Hall to hear and make decisions on any formal appeals of value or classification of property.
      2. The LBAE is typically made up of Council Members, Realtors, Appraisers, Lenders, or other citizens with real estate expertise.
    3. If the property owner wishes to appeal further, they can appeal to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization (CBAE).
      1. The CBAE meets in June at the Clay County Courthouse to hear and make decisions on any formal appeals of value or classification of property.
      2. The CBAE is typically made up of the current Clay County Commissioners.
      3. A property owner must first formally appeal to the LBAE in April to gain the right to appeal further to the CBAE.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • What is a dwelling?
    Any building, including a "manufactured home (mobile home)" which is intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
  • What is a Homestead Classification?

    The Homestead Classification of a residential property is a benefit that applies to a property owner who:

    1. Owns their residential property.
    2. Occupies their residential property as their primary residence.
    3. Is a Minnesota resident.

    By meeting those criteria, the Homestead Classification qualifies the property for:

    1. A classification rate of 1.00% on up to $500,000 in taxable market value (this rate is 1.25% for non-homestead residences).
    2. A market value exclusion, which may reduce the property's taxable market value (Homestead Exclusion).
    3. Other programs such as the disabled veteran's market value exclusion, senior citizens' property tax deferral, and property tax refunds.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • What is a rental unit?
    Any room or group of rooms within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit. Rental unit also includes a lot in a manufactured home park which is rented to a person or entity to place a manufactured home on the lot, whether or not the home is owner-occupied or leased.
  • What is a rental?
    The leasing of a rental unit to a non-owner for any period of time, including "lease to buy, contract for deed, installment sales, purchases", and other similar arrangements whereby non-payment of a periodic payment means the occupants may be evicted without the necessity of either a statutory mortgage foreclosure procedure, a statutory termination of contract for deed procedure, or a statutory repossession procedure.
  • What is an "Executive Session" of the City Council?

    All official meetings of the Council are open to the public with the exception of executive sessions as allowed by law. Executive sessions, or closed meetings, are typically scheduled to follow the regular agenda items at a City Council Meeting. Executive sessions may be held under two circumstances:

    • To discuss labor negotiation strategies in accordance with the Minnesota Open Meeting Law.
    • To discuss threatened or pending litigation under attorney/client privilege.
  • What is community notification?
    Minnesota's community notification law requires assignment of risk levels to predatory offenders (i.e., sex offenders) who are required to register under Minnesota's predatory offender registration law. Based upon the risk level assigned to the offender, law enforcement must share certain information and may share other information about the offender with certain individuals and entities in the area where the offender lives, works, or attends school. This law aims to increase public safety by letting people know where these offenders are in the community.
  • What is Family Self Sufficiency?
    Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) connecting housing assistance and supportive services to eligible families with a HCV.  The goal of the FSS Program is to enable current families and individuals participating in the HCV program to take control of their lives, becoming economically and socially independent through the coordination and delivery of existing community services.  FSS assists families and individuals with acquiring the skills needed to achieve financial independence and the pride that goes with it.
  • What is the City of Moorhead compensation plan?

    In order to maintain pay equity compliance, as required by the State of Minnesota Local Government Pay Equity Act, municipalities are required to establish a job evaluation system to determine the comparable work value of each employee class. The City of Moorhead has established a job classification system and compensation plan for all employee job classes. This classification and compensation plan assigns a salary range for each job classification. These salary ranges are compared to actual wage rates in the market (competing employers/government entities) every few years. Employees are hired onto the wage schedule at a specific step and, assuming a favorable review, will advance to the next step on the wage schedule on an annual basis. Please view Labor Union Contacts for wage detail on specific union positions.

  • What is the difference between a City Council Meeting and a Committee of the Whole meeting?
    At regular City Council meetings the Council acts on official City of Moorhead business. At Committee of the Whole Meetings Council Members discuss City business or other matters of interest as determined by the Council. No official action is taken at Committee of the Whole meetings.
  • What is the hiring process for temporary seasonal positions?

    It can take up to a month to make a decision on a position.  Due to the volume of applications received for seasonal positions, we are not able to notify candidates not selected.  Seasonal applications will remain on file for that season and that position and Supervisors may contact you if a position does come open in the future.

  • What is the timeline of the assessment cycle, valuation notices, and tax statements?

    1. January 2
      1. This is the assessment date on which property values are estimated every year. This mainly comes into play for new construction which is in progress from one year to the next. Value of the partial construction as of January 2nd will be estimated and used to calculate taxes payable the following year.
    2. Late March/Early April
      1. Clay County Auditor's Office mails out Property Tax Statements to property owners. The Property Tax Statement also includes the current Valuation Notice which is used to calculate taxes payable the following year.
    3. Mid-April
      1. Formal appeals must be submitted in writing to the City Assessor's Office located at City Hall in Moorhead, or in person to the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE). The LBAE meets at City Hall in Moorhead on the date and time listed on the Valuation Notice. The LBAE meets to hear and make decisions on formal appeals of the current valuation or classification of property.
    4. May 15
      1. The first half of property taxes are due for most real estate.
    5. May 29
      1. Deadline for owners of manufactured homes assessed as personal property (typically located in manufactured home parks) to establish and apply for a Homestead Exclusion.
    6. Mid-June
      1. The County Board of Appeal and Equalization (CBAE) meets to hear and make decisions on formal appeals of valuation or classification. The CBAE meets at the Clay County Courthouse on the date and time listed on the Valuation Notice. In order to appeal to the CBAE, the property owner must have first formally appealed to the LBAE in April.
    7. July 1
      1. Taxable real property can become exempt for this year's assessment (taxes payable the following year) if acquired by certain government, church, or educational entities by this date.
      2. Real property that was exempt loses its exemption due to sale or other reasons prior to July 1 and becomes taxable for this year's assessment (taxes payable the following year).
      3. Deadline for senior citizens to file for property tax deferment for taxes payable the following year.
      4. Deadline for disabled veterans with qualifying homesteads to apply for the Disabled Veterans Homestead Exclusion for this year's assessment (taxes payable the following year).
    8. July 15
      1. Property tax statements must be mailed to owners of manufactured homes assessed as personal property.
    9. August 15
      1. Due date for filing for Property Tax Refund
        1. File and Pay
    10. August 31
      1. The first half of property taxes for manufactured homes assessed as personal property are due.
    11. October 1
      1. Deadline to apply for Blind/Disabled Homestead for this year’s assessment (taxes payable the following year).
    12. October 15
      1. The second half of property taxes are due for most real estate.
    13. November 15
      1. The second half of property taxes for manufactured homes assessed as personal property are due.
      2. The second half of property taxes are due for class 2a (Agricultural), and 2b (Rural Vacant Land).
    14. Late November
      1. Truth in Taxation notices are mailed to property owners. This notice calculates an estimate for property taxes due the following year.
    15. December 1
      1. Owners of real property must occupy their home by this date in order to qualify for the Homestead Exclusion for this year’s assessment (taxes payable the following year).
    16. December 15
      1. Deadline to file a homestead application for this year’s assessment (taxes payable the following year).

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • What makes my property tax bill change from year to year?
    a. My property’s value
    b. My neighbor’s property value
    c. My city council, my county board, and my school board
    d. The state Legislature

    e. All of the above

    Answer: All of the above.
    The decisions of your city council, county board, and school board about the amount of tax dollars they need to deliver services may be the most obvious factor in your property tax bill. But the value of your property, the total value of all the property in your community, changes in state programs, and changes in state laws that affect the tax system also play a role. Changes in any of these factors can make your tax bill go up in some years and down in others. 

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

     

  • What sources of funds are available for street projects?
    • Federal funds. The City competes with five other cities in Mn/DOT District 4 for approximately $1.2M in federal funding annually. Historically, the City has received the equivalent of $0.5-0.6M per year
    • Municipal State Aid (MSA) funds. The City receives approximately $1M annually

    Federal and MSA funds can only be spent on minor arterial and collector streets. The City uses these funds to offset or reduce special assessments and/or property tax funds spent on street projects. MSA funds are also used as a local match (20%) for Federal appropriations (80%) for larger projects with citywide benefit.

    • Local funds
      • City-wide Property tax collections
      • Special assessments to properties in the benefiting area

  • What type of community notification occurs for the various risk levels?

    The type of community notification that occurs depends on the risk level to which an offender has been assigned. The depth and breadth of the disclosure depends upon the level of danger posed by the offender, his or her pattern of offending behavior, and the need of community members for information to enhance individual and community safety. Notification for the three levels is as follows:

    Level I Offenders
    The law enforcement agency may maintain information about the offender within the agency and disclose it to other law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement agency also may disclose the information to any victims or witnesses to the offense committed by the offender. The agency must disclose information to victims of the offense who have requested disclosure and to adult members of the offender's immediate household.

    Level II Offenders
    The law enforcement agency may disclose the same information it may disclose on Level I offenders and it also may disclose information to agencies and groups the offender is likely to encounter. These agencies and groups include the staff members of public and private educational institutions, day care establishments, and establishments and organizations that primarily serve individuals likely to be victimized by the offender. The agency also may disclose information to individuals the agency believes are likely to be victimized by the offender based on the offender's pattern of offending or victim preference.

     Level III Offenders
    The law enforcement agency must disclose the information to the persons and entities that may receive notice about Level I and II offenders. In addition, the agency must disclose information to other members of the community whom the offender is likely to encounter, unless the agency determines that public safety would be compromised by the disclosure or that a more limited disclosure is necessary to protect the identity of the victim. When a Level III offender moves into a community, law enforcement typically holds a community meeting to provide information about the offender.

  • What will my electric cost be after the Oakport electric service buyout?

    An Electric Service Extension surcharge is charged to MPS customers in newly-acquired service areas.  The surcharge rate was defined in the Orderly Annexation Agreement as one-half of the per kWh rate difference between MPS and the current electric provider.  For example, if the current electric provider charges $0.12/kWh and the MPS rate is $0.10/kWh the Tract 2 customer will pay $0.11/kWh until the buyout expenses are recouped.  As rates between the current electric utilities and MPS change, the surcharge will be adjusted; however, at no time after the buyout will a Tract 2 resident pay more for electricity than they would have with their previous electric utility supplier.  Once the buyout expenses are recouped, Tract 2 rates will be the same as in the rest of the City of Moorhead.

  • What's my voting location?
    This map details ward and precinct boundaries and polling locations for City of Moorhead residents.  The Elections webpage includes additional voting information and resources. 
  • When and where does the Moorhead City Council meet?

    The City Council typically meets every second, third and fourth Mondays of each month at 5:30 pm in the Council Chambers located on first floor of City Hall, 500 Center Avenue. Regular City Council Meetings occur on the second and fourth Mondays. Committee of the Whole meetings take place on the third Mondays.

    See the full calendar of scheduled City Council meetings.

  • When are special assessment payments due?
    The final assessment hearing is typically held after the project has been completed and all costs are known.  Property owners will receive a final assessment letter stating the final assessment hearing date and payment options.  The first assessment payment is due with property taxes the year following the final assessment hearing.  Partial or full payments can be made after the final assessment hearing.
  • When are the value increases going to stop?

    Estimated Market Values (assessed values) are a direct result of actual sales that occur in Moorhead. The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR), in order to create uniformity in taxation across the State, requires that assessed values be estimated at 100% of market value based on sales in Moorhead every year. Within that requirement, the DOR allows for the median sales ratio (assessed value divided by sale price of an individual property) to fall between 90% and 105%. If the level of assessment in the City is not set within that range, the DOR will make the adjustments necessary to push a jurisdiction's (Moorhead's) values into that range.

    So, value increases will continue as long as sale prices in Moorhead increase in order for Moorhead's level of assessment to remain in compliance on an annual basis. As sale prices level off, values will level off. If sale prices were to decline, values would decline as well. The goal of the assessor is to estimate market value for every property annually as accurately and fairly as possible, all based on the current sales activity of properties in Moorhead. This way, no property owner will pay more or less than their fair share of the property tax burden.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • When do I pay my property taxes?

    Most property owners pay their taxes in two installments—the first half in May and the second half in October. This semi-annual payment occurs even if your property taxes are collected by your mortgage company with your monthly mortgage payment.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • When does my tax bill come?

    The third notice, generally received in March of each year, is the actual tax bill. It will show what you owe in property taxes to each local government—your county, city or township, school district, any special district, and the state. Some local governments will also include information about the kinds of services that the property tax dollars will support.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • Where are the apartment homes located?
    The PHA owns the River View Heights Apartments which are located at 800 Second Avenue North, with preference for disabled and elderly individuals.  There are designated elderly only apartments at Sharp View which are located at 920 5th Avenue South.  The PHA also owns 6 three bedroom duplexes (12 units), 15 scattered site homes (3 and 4 bedrooms), and 3 townhome apartments (2 bedrooms).
  • Where can I find City Council agendas, minutes, video, and resolutions?
    Agendas, minutes, videos and resolutions are all available on the City Council Meetings page.
  • Where can I get help in preparing financial projections, marketing studies, and loan applications?
    The Small Business Development Center located at Concordia College’s Offutt School of Business has consultants to guide you through the process. Visit their website for more information.
  • Where can I get information about small business taxes?
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has information and publications available for download to help you file and pay your business taxes. Visit their website for more information.
  • Where can I learn more about the property tax system?
    The League of Minnesota Cities offers several resources that explain the property tax system.

    They are available at the League of Minnesota Cities website.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • Where can I park?
    Boulevard signs will be posted for the restrictions that apply to each block. Utilize driveways and parking lots whenever possible. Cars may not be parked on grass, in front yards, or across the sidewalks. MSUM does permit free parking in some of their lots after 5 pm and that may be an option for neighbors during snow events. Those lots are signed accordingly.
  • Where can I use my ATV in Oakport Tract 2?

    Class 2 ATVs are allowed on shoulder areas of improved roadways (not state trunk highways – state law).

  • Where can I use my snowmobile in Oakport?
    Snowmobiles can be used on private property and dedicated snowmobile routes have been established along specific county and local roads. 
  • Where do I pay my rent?
    You can pay your rent at the MPHA office.  The drop box is located in the front entry of the River View Heights office.  There is also a drop box on the main floor in the Sharp View apartments.
  • Where should I direct a monetary donation to the flood effort?
    The local chapter of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are each supporting in our community's flood preparation efforts. You may consider a donation to either of them. 
  • Who do I call if my driveway is blocked by a vehicle?
    You may call the Police Department at 218.299.5120.
  • Who is a predatory offender?
    A predatory offender is an offender who is required to register under the predatory offender registration law, except for individuals who are required to register solely because of a juvenile delinquency determination. A person is treated as a predatory offender if the person has committed felony criminal sexual conduct or certain other designated sex crimes, kidnapping, or false imprisonment. These crimes are often referred to as predatory offenses. The law recognizes as predatory offenders those individuals who have committed these crimes under Minnesota law, federal law, or the law of other states. The law also requires registration of certain individuals who have been civilly committed as sexually dangerous persons or as mentally ill and dangerous, provided the person was charged with a predatory offense.
  • Who mows Tract 2 ditches?
    Homeowners continue to be responsible to mow ditches abutting their property.  Buffalo Red River Watershed District maintains Ditch 67 (along north side of McCann’s Addition/south of Wall Street) as well as the ditches along the levee.  
  • Why did my Homestead Exclusion go down?

    The homestead classification applies to properties occupied as primary residences by their owners. Classification as a homestead may qualify the property for a reduced classification rate, reduced taxable market value (Homestead Exclusion), property tax refund, and/or special program eligibility.

    The Homestead Exclusion reduces the taxable market value of a residential property, and is calculated as follows:

    1. The exclusion from the total value is calculated first as 40% of the total value up to $76,000, equaling a maximum exclusion of $30,400 if the value of a property is $76,000 ($76,000 x 40% = $30,400).
    2. The exclusion is then reduced as the value of the property increases, by 9% of whatever the market value over $76,000 is.
    3. The exclusion therefore decreases as the value increases over $76,000, until it eventually is reduced to $0 at a value of $413,800 and beyond.
    MN Homestead Exclusion Graph

    For example, if a homestead property is estimated at $200,000 in value, the exclusion would be calculated as such:

    1. First $76,000 in value = $30,400 maximum exclusion
    2. Value over $76,000 = $124,000 x 9% = $11,160 reduction to the maximum exclusion
    3. $30,400 - $11,160 = $19,240 Homestead Exclusion
    4. Estimated Market Value of $200,000 - $19,240 Homestead Exclusion = $180,760 Taxable Value

    Now, let's look at a home with a higher value of $300,000:

    1. First $76,000 in value = $30,400 maximum exclusion
    2. Value over $76,000 = $224,000 x 9% = $20,160 reduction to the maximum exclusion
    3. $30,400 - $20,160 = $10,240 Homestead Exclusion
    4. Estimated Market Value of $300,000 - $10,240 Homestead Exclusion = $289,760 Taxable Value

    Notice the sizeable difference in the exclusion when the value of a property is $200,000 or $300,000.

    Finally, we examine a property with a value of $500,000:

    1. First $76,000 in value = $30,400 maximum exclusion
    2. Value over $76,000 = $424,000 x 9% = $38,160 reduction to the maximum exclusion
    3. $30,400 - $38,160 = -$7,760
    4. Since the exclusion would be calculated as less than $0, no exclusion is applied to a property valued at $500,000.

    This calculation is set up by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and is the same for every Residential Homestead Property throughout the State. Once a property reaches $76,000 in market value, as value goes up the exclusion goes down. For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.moorheadproperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Why did my value go up when I haven't done anything to my house?

    Typically, the estimated market value of a residential property can increase (or decrease) for two reasons:

    1. New construction, remodeling, or the changing physical condition of a property.
    2. Change in market conditions ("I haven't done anything to my house").

    Although there are times and reasons why a property can decrease in value, real estate in the Fargo/Moorhead area generally appreciates in value over time. This is the case even if "nothing has changed" with the physical structure.

    The City of Moorhead Assessor's Office conducts many sales studies every year to identify neighborhoods, types of homes, styles of homes, ages of homes, etc., which have appreciated or depreciated in value that year. This statistical analysis is based on a study of every arms-length¹ residential sale within city limits every year and sometimes over the course of multiple years.

    Segments of the market, either by location or physical characteristics, are then studied to determine market conditions within the larger market. The Minnesota Department of Revenue dictates that properties be assessed between 90% and 105% of selling prices in a jurisdiction, and as a result, values are adjusted annually to reflect the changing market conditions. This can mean an increase or decrease in value of a property, even when nothing has changed with the physical structures.

    ¹An arms-length sale is defined as a transaction between a typically motivated knowledgeable buyer and seller under no undue duress, between unrelated parties, each acting prudently, using typical financing (cash-equivalent), in a competitive and open market.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Why did my value go up?

    There are a couple of reasons a property's value may increase or decrease from one year to the next.

    In order to create uniformity across jurisdictional lines, the State of Minnesota requires assessed values to be set at 100% of market value (the most likely selling price in an open market transaction) across the board. Based on that requirement, the State allows a range of sale ratios (assessed value divided by sale price) between 90% and 105% in order to achieve compliance every year. Each year a sales study is conducted within the city of Moorhead by the Department of Revenue to determine compliance, and the City Assessor's office is given the opportunity to adjust values to meet that compliance.

    Values may also increase due to data corrections or improvements made to a property based on the contributory value those improvements add. For example: building a deck, installing new siding and windows, finishing the basement, and remodeling the interior of a home are a few of the many improvements that can be made that add value to a property.

    The Assessor's Office conducts an in-depth sales analysis of Moorhead properties every year to determine value trends in various segments of the market in either direction, and then applies increases or decreases to values as necessary to meet compliance with the state requirements.

    In an increasing market, assessed values will likely increase to maintain compliance with the Minnesota Department of Revenue as a 100% market value state.

  • Why did my value not go up the same as my neighbor's?

    Each property in Moorhead is unique. Neighboring properties often share a similar location and many of the same physical characteristics. Quite often, however, there are minor differences between two properties that appear to be identical on the surface.

    It is possible through sales studies to identify a segment of the housing market whose value needs to be adjusted.

    For example, let's say there are two very similar neighboring homes. One has a fully finished basement, while the other has only half of its basement finished. In studying residential sales, a trend is identified showing basement finish is being undervalued. The value of basement finish could be adjusted to help estimated market values throughout the city mirror the recent sales in this segment. In this case, one home (with the finished basement) will realize a larger increase in value than its neighbor (with the half-finished basement).

    There are other more obvious reasons values of neighboring properties could change at different rates as well. Construction, renovation, and destruction to one property and not the other will cause a unique change in value. Differences in style, age, size, quality, condition, amenities, and location are some of the many characteristics that are studied every year, with values being adjusted accordingly throughout the city.

    For more frequently asked questions and further information, please visit www.MoorheadProperty.org and click on the links on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Why do I have to register my rental property?
    The city recognizes a need for an organized inspection program of residential rental units within the city in order to ensure that rental units meet city and state safety, health, fire, and zoning codes within the city. Rental registration also ensures decent, safe, and sanitary housing for Moorhead’s residents.
  • Why does my tax bill come from the county?

    For efficiency, counties have been designated by the state Legislature to administer most aspects of the property tax system on behalf of all local governments. County staff calculate the tax bills for each property in the community and then collect tax payments from property owners. After your property taxes are paid, the county then properly distributes the money to the various local governments and to the state.

    ©2014 League of Minnesota Cities

  • Why does the City use special assessments for street projects?
    The total cost for street reconstruction, rehabilitation, and mill & overlay projects in the City’s 2010-2014 Transportation Capital Improvement Plan is approximately $6.3M per year.

    Federal and MSA funding is insufficient, limited to certain streets, and/or requires a local match (20%).

    The City does not maintain a capital improvement fund sufficient to “pay cash” for street projects.  A “cash” fund for street projects would at least double property taxes.
    The City bonds (or borrows) money to pay for street projects.  State statute requires that at least 20% of the project cost be special assessed.
  • Will I be charged for repairs made to my apartment?
    Residents are not charged for normal wear and tear maintenance needs in their unit.  However, if damage is caused due to tenant abuse or negligence, the resident will be charged for the cost of repairs.
  • Will I need to relocate my electric meter when MPS becomes my electric provider?

    Only Tract 2 residents who are upgrading or relocating an existing service will be required to relocate an interior meter to the outside of the house.   Following acquisition of the electric service territory, MPS will be replacing existing meters with MPS meters at no charge (by appointment if the meter is located inside the home).   There is a monthly service charge for secondary/additional service meters as necessary for dual fuel systems or other purposes (currently $2.00/month for each meter).  Please note that residents with off peak or dual fuel systems are responsible to bring their systems into compliance with the MPS dual fuel program standards to receive the Moorhead dual fuel rates. 

  • Will my property be affected by a flood?
    Enter your address into our Flood Mapping Tool. This will tell you the "critical elevation" for your parcel and building. You may also view the simulated impact at various river flood stages by adjusting the flood stage at the bottom of the page.
  • Will sidewalks be required in existing Oakport Tract 2 neighborhoods?
    No. For future subdivisions, sidewalks will be reviewed during the platting process.
  • Will the City maintain private roads in Oakport?
    No. The City will not maintain private roads but maintains all public roads in the city unless they are maintained by another public jurisdiction such as MnDOT or Clay County.  
  • Will the City pursue FEMA accreditation of the Tract 2 west levee?
    This levee is under the jurisdiction of the Buffalo Red River Watershed District.  The Watershed would be the entity that would pursue accreditation.  
  • Will the City take ownership of the Tract 2 levees?

    Not at this time.  The levees remain under the jurisdiction of the Buffalo Red River Watershed District.  All properties within the BRRWD pay a general administration tax based on their property value/tax capacity.  BRRWD charges a special assessment to properties benefiting from projects such as the Oakport levee project or a ditch project.  In addition, Oakport residents that are within the Oakport Levee project area are charged a levee maintenance fee on their tax statement; this levee maintenance fee will continue to apply to benefiting properties while the infrastructure is maintained by the BRRWD.    

  • Will vehicles with disability license plates or residential parking permits have to move their cars for snow removal?
    Yes. Vehicles with disability license plates or permits are not subject to the 3-hour parking time limit, but are subject to all other parking regulations. All vehicles will have to be moved during snow removal periods and posted street maintenance schedules.
  • Will you issue warnings or tickets before towing?
    Warnings will not be issued in the case of snow events or when a vehicle is blocking someone's driveway regardless of the weather. It was very clear from the parking study that illegal parking and the narrowing of streets due to incomplete snow removal are both a safety concern and major frustration.