About 25 Carlton County residents were early for the county truth in taxation public hearing Tuesday, Dec. 3. Commissioners listened to residents for nearly two hours.

Several expressed frustration and anger with the relentlessly raising taxes from the county as well as other entities. A few retired residents on fixed incomes shared concern about being taxed out of their homes.

Retired resident Clarence Badger, 80, attends the meeting every year to ask why taxes are increasing and how he is supposed to come up with the money to stay in his home when he is on a fixed budget.

“Nothing that happens with taxes makes sense anymore,” Badger said.

Wrenshall resident Kevin Koen said he believes residents get fewer services despite tax increases.

Carlton County Assessor Kyle Holmes answered questions about property tax statements.

A few residents questioned the amount of the budget that goes toward the human services department. Director Dave Lee explained some of the services the county provides. The biggest recipients are senior citizens and children. He said they work hard to keep a tight budget.

“We aggressively go after other funds to keep the levy down,” Lee said. He said the department brings in a large amount of federal money to the county.

A few residents said they recognize the commissioners can only do so much. Residents were provided a packet that breaks down the property taxes found on the statements so it's easier to understand. Acting Treasurer/Auditor Kathy Kortuem walked residents through the packet.

Holmes reminded residents to file for their property tax refund. He said 1 in 3 Carlton County residents qualify for a refund, but 60% of residents don't apply.

“That is your money the state is keeping,” Holmes said to residents.

For questions or more information about county taxes, contact Kathy Kortuem at 218-384-9132 or kathy.kortuem@co.carlton.mn.us.

For questions about county property values, contact Kyle Holmes at 218-384-9149 or kyle.holmes@co.carlton.mn.us.