Finance
THE CITY OF DULUTH, MINNESOTA

Special Assessments

 

A special assessment is a fee collected by the City for improvements or services the City provides that benefit a property. 

Local improvements billed as assessments may include

  •  Gas Main
  •  Land Development (New Construction)
  •  Razing
  •  Sanitary Sewer System
  •  Sidewalk Improvement
  •  Stormwater System
  •  Street Improvement
  •  Street Lighting System
  •  Water Main

Delinquent charges, cost of services, and fines billed as assessments may include: 

  • Delinquent Administrative Fines
  • Delinquent Garbage
  • Delinquent Stormwater/Street Lighting Fees
  • Delinquent Water/Sewer Bills

See below chart for more information.

        
Payable To Address  Due Date* Contact Info for Questions
Delinquent Adminstrative Fines City Treasurer

411 W 1st Street,    Room 105 City Hall, Duluth MN  55802        

October 1st

Life Safety        

218-730-4380

Delinquent Garbage Garbage Hauler  Garbage Hauler November 1st   Garbage Hauler 

Delinquent Stormwater/Street Lighting  

Delinquent Water/Sewer

City Treasurer 411 W 1st Street,    Room 105 City Hall, Duluth MN  55802 October 1st

Comfort Systems

218-730-4048

*If the delinquent charges are not paid by the Due Date above they will be added to the property owner's real estate taxes the following year.

Assessment Annual Billing

A special assessment invoice is mailed out by the City of Duluth Treasurer's Office to affected property owners.  The installment payment is due annually.  If the invoice is paid after the due date, a penalty of 10% of the annual installment amount will be charged.  Interest will accrue daily until paid in full.  If the property owner wishes to pay off an assessment, they need to call the City Treasurer's Office at (218) 730-5350 for a payoff balance.

If the annual installment bill is not paid to the City Treasurer's Office, the installment due plus penalty and interest will be added to a property owner's real estate taxes the following year. 

For a sample City of Duluth special assessment bill, please click here.

Assessment Process

The procedures to approve - or levy - special assessments or unpaid city charges include:

  • Project start - Improvement projects can be council initiated or petition driven.  The City Engineering Department is responsible for large-scale roadway, gas, water, sanitary sewer, and storm water projects.  Please click here for more information.
  • Notice of the Special Assessment Board Public Hearing - The City must mail notice to each affected property owner at least 10 days prior to the hearing date.
  • Special Assessment Board Public Hearing - The hearing gives affected property owners an opportunity to voice their opinions about their proposed assessment.  After all testimony is received, the Special Assessment Board closes the public hearing and votes on the assessment. 
  • City Council approval of the proposed project - The resolution ordering the improvement and a recommendation from the Special Assessment Board will be presented to the City Council. 
  • Notice of the City Council Public Hearing - Notice is published in the Duluth News Tribune 20 days prior to the public hearing.  Individual notices are also sent to residents 10 days prior to public hearing on the final assessment roll.
  • City Council Public Hearing - Final assessment roll certified by the City Council.
  • Assessment billing- After the assessment roll has been approved by the City Council, City staff mails invoices to the affected property owners.  Owners have 40 days to pay the assessment without interest.  After the initial payment due date, interest will begin to accrue.

See attached flow chart for additional information regarding the process by clicking here.

Pending Assessments

Pending assessments are estimated assessment amounts to be charged to properties BEFORE the assessments are levied by the City Council.  Assessments become pending either:

  • When the City Council authorizes the construction of a public improvement that will be financed with assessments; or
  • When the City Treasurer staff receive unpaid charges that may be collected by assessment.

Once public improvement projects are substantially completed, staff calculates final assessment charges and submits a final Assessment Roll to the City Council for approval.  Once approved, the assessments are no longer pending, but become levied.   

Special Assessment Deferrals

Qualified property owners may defer payment of special assessments.  The assessment obligation is not reduced or canceled, only deferred.  Payment will be due and payable in full at a future date with accrued interest.

See below qualification requirements:

  • Deferral Based on Age and Income:  Owner(s) are 65 years of age or older and applying for deferral of assessment based on income.
  • Deferral Based on Disability and Income:  Owner(s) are permanently disabled and applying for deferral of assessment based on income/disability.
  • Deferral Based on Active Military Service and Income:  Owner(s) are a member of the Minnesota National Guard or other military reserves who are ordered into active military service, as defined in section 190.05, subdivision 5b or 5c, as stated in the person’s military orders, for who it would be a hardship to make the payments.

For more information on 2014 income guidelines please click here.  Income guidelines are updated annually. 

Please note, the deferral is not solely based on income guidelines.  For example, for a deferral based on age and income, a property owner must be 65 years of age or older and meet income requirements. 

Read through the Deferred Assessment Application provided in the link below and return the required documents to the City Treasurer’s Office, 411 West First Street, City Hall Room 105, Duluth, MN 55802.  If you have any questions about the application form or documentation required, please call the City Treasurer’s Office at 218-730-5350.  The Special Assessment Board meets the second Tuesday of every month.  The City Treasurer and Special Assessment Board Chair will review an application to determine if all requirements have been met.  They will approve or deny the application.

Deferred Assessment Application - Fillable

Please note – if a deferral of an assessment is approved, it will be deferred with interest, compounded daily, until such time as it is deemed that the applicant no longer qualifies or the property loses eligibility.  Under the City guidelines, the deferment is terminated and payable upon any of the following:

  • The death of the owner (if the surviving spouse is not eligible for the deferment)
  • The sale, transfer, or subdivision of any part of the property
  • The loss of homestead status of the property
  • A determination by the Special Assessment Board that requiring immediate or partial payment would no longer impose a hardship
  • If deferred because of military service, no longer than the period of active duty.

Assessments FAQ

How do I find out if there are special assessments on a property?

  • You may call the Treasurer’s Office at 218-730-5350 to inquire about assessments on a property. Please have the Plat and Parcel number available (010-####-#####).

Can I get assessment information in writing regarding a property?

  • For $14.00 you can purchase a certificate with all special assessment information. This certificate would also confirm if there are any current or pending special assessments.

How do I know what the special assessment on my special assessments invoice is for?

  • Whether it is an improvement project, a fine, or unpaid bill - you've likely received one or more notices from the City.  To learn more about a special assessment on your bill from the City, call (218) 730-5350.  Please have your Plat and Parcel number available (010-####-#####).

What does it mean when a special assessment is "pending?"

  • For improvement projects, pending means the project has been approved by the City Council and construction can start. 

What are the assessment payment options?

  • Payoff:  The special assessments invoice mailed by the City does NOT represent a payoff balance.  Please call the City Treasurer’s Office at (218) 730-5350 to receive an updated balance for a payoff remittance.  Interest accrues daily.
  • Installment Payments:  Payments are made in annual installments over a 5-year or 15-year period depending on the assessment terms.

Why do I have assessments on my property taxes?

  • As of December 1st of each year the City is required to “certify” to St. Louis County a calculated amount of principal, interest, and penalties owed by any property with unpaid city assessments.  This amount is placed on the county property tax statement mailed to each property owner the following year.  If you are unsure of what the assessment is for, you can contact the City Treasurer’s Office at 218-730-5350.

I have an $18.00 assessment on my taxes.  What is this for?

  • All properties have this WLSSD fee.  For more information contact WLSSD at 218-740-4842.

I have questions on my property taxes or would like to pay them.  You may pay in person, online or by mail:

I want to change my mailing address.

  • The City Treasurer’s Office uploads parcel address information directly from St. Louis County.  Please contact the St. Louis County Auditor’s Office at 218-726-2383.

Who do I contact regarding Duluth North Shore Sanitary Sewer District (DNSSD) sewer assessments?

  •  RRM Financial Services, Inc. dba FiOp, Inc.
     Attn: Becky McNamara
     P.O. Box 16027
     St. Louis Park, MN  55416
     Phone: (877) 824-4871
     Fax:     (612) 827-8264
     E-mail: beckym@fiop.biz

What is a Special Service District?

  • The St. Louis County Auditor collects service charges from non-residential property owners within the downtown area (Duluth Downtown Waterfront District).  The fee covers enhanced services and programs, with the goal of improving the safety, cleanliness, and economic vitality of the Downtown Waterfront.  Any questions on the Special Service District fees appearing on the real estate tax statement should be directed to the St. Louis County Assessor's Office at 218-726-2304.
Treasurer's Office
City Hall, Room 105
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
218-730-5350

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Office hours are:
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