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Open up, or else

Robert Hale

Minot

A letter I recently received from our friendly City of Minot government, stated: “The Minot Assessor’s Office will be conducting an on-site review of property in your neighborhood this year.”

It goes on to state: “Please note that if we are unable to review the interior of your property, the appraiser will have to estimate the features and condition of the home to arrive at an estimated market value. Please call our office to schedule an appointment for a brief review of your property.

Of course, we have a Constitutional right to object and refuse entry. That right is spelled out in Article IV, in the Federal Bill of Rights amended to our Constitution. It states: “The right of the people to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The identical protection is also found in Article I, Section 8 of our North Dakota state constitution.

You can waive this right if you wish and voluntarily permit access and “review of the interior of your property”, by a government agent. The letter notes: “All appraisers from the Minot Assessor’s Office will be wearing an identification card and have an official City of Minot vehicle.”

The City suggests we co-operate, “to verify that property tax assessments are fair, equitable and reflect a reasonable estimate of actual market value.”

However, if we chose to exercise this right of refusal our friendly Minot City government makes it clear that refusal comes with a price – expect that your property tax assessment will be higher than if you don’t allow access.

This “review”, by a stranger searching through our homes, includes inspecting our bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, appliances, living room, rec room, attic, utility rooms, storage spaces, basement – finished or unfinished, cabinets, built-in drawers, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting fixtures – every inch of our home can be inspected and recorded.

We are not told if the inspector will be taking photographs. However, it is likely, that too will be a part of the inspection and end up, along with the agent’s written findings of what is in the interior of our homes, in a City of Minot file of houses.

The ONLY possible purpose of the interior inspection of our homes is to increase their taxable value. Which, I guess, might be sufficient to pay for the added government agents that will be needed to perform these interior inspections, write up their findings and the City vehicles each will be provided.

However, it might also be to see how much abuse we citizens will tolerate from an arrogant governing body.

So much for the old-fashioned concept that our home is our castle. This inspection program shows how little respect our City Officials have for the citizens of Minot. The City sees us and our homes as little more than an ATM machine to tap for more of our money.

Minot’s City government clearly has no respect for the sanctuary and privacy we are constitutionally guaranteed to have in our homes. What the City is doing should anger every citizen.

If the City needs more money, it should abolish its hopeless Economic Development program. For decades it has wasted our tax dollars on the hope of somehow being useful. This program’s history is one of dismal failure. There are no winners, only losers. And we taxpayers are the biggest ones.

Maybe it’s time to finally abolish property taxes. It may be the only way we can actually be secure in our homes and abolish one of the government’s favorite tax.

Even better. The City should drop this obnoxious inspection process before people realize how badly we homeowners are being abused.

The State is flush with literally billions of dollars in savings. It’s adding to these savings by billions more each biennium.

I suggest we ALL tell our government leaders NO THANK YOU. Then, if our government leaders ignore us, we replace them.

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