Carlton County requests state action on Enbridge tax settlement

All 13 counties in Minnesota affected by the decision have passed or will vote on similar resolutions in the coming days, officials said.

FILE: Line 3 construction
Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline under construction near the intersection of Hohensee and West Moorhead roads in Carlton County in January. (Clint Austin / 2021 file /

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution asking the state of Minnesota to cover the cost of the Enbridge tax settlement.

The case began after Enbridge appealed its state-assessed property tax valuation by the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) from 2012-2018 to the Minnesota Tax Court. The court ruled in favor of Enbridge for the years 2012-2016, while the case involving 2017 and 2018 is still making its way through the courts.

Carlton County Assessor Kyle Holmes told the board in May a final decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court is expected in the next few months and the final bill for all entities in Carlton County could amount to more than $3 million for 2012-2016, including interest. Carlton County would be responsible for approximately 47% of the total.

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Holmes testified before the Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Property Taxes and told the committee that having to repay that amount could be “crippling” for the county, school districts and townships affected by the decision.

All public utilities in Minnesota are assessed by the DOR and county assessors, like Holmes, had no role in the assessments that caused the overpayments by Enbridge.

“The Carlton County Board of Commissioners identify that Carlton County had no role in the assessment of Enbridge properties or their defense during litigation,” the resolution said. “This role was taken by the State of Minnesota Department of Revenue and, as such, payment due to Enbridge should be the responsibility of the state to rectify this issue, similar to how the County rectifies our own local abatements.”

Holmes said that all 13 counties in Minnesota affected by the settlement, including St. Louis County, have passed or are considering similar resolutions.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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