Finance

Special Assessments

Purchasing Assessment Certificates

You can purchase a certificate with all special assessment information.  This certificate would also confirm if there are any current or pending special assessments.  If you have a prepaid account with our office, you may submit the request form by E-mail.

Otherwise, please mail or hand-deliver this form with payment to:

City Treasurer
411 W 1st Street, Room 120
Duluth, MN  55802

Certificates are typically returned by E-mail within two business days of paid request.  If you have a RUSH request, please call our office after submitting your request form.

If you do not have a prepaid account with our office and would like one in order to expedite certificate purchases, please call our office at 218-730-5350 for details.

Certificate cost is set annually; the rate for 2019 is $20.00 per property.

Special Assessment Certificate Request Form

**Some browsers may require that you download the form to submit by E-mail. 


Assessment Definition

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
  Payable To: Address Due Date* Contact
Delinquent Administrative Fees City Treasurer 411 W. 1st Street, Room 120 City Hall, Duluth, MN 55802 October 1st Life Safety | 218-730-4380
Delinquent Garbage Garbage Hauler Garbage Hauler October 1st Garbage Hauler

Delinquent Stormwater/Street Lighting

Delinquent Water/Sewer

City Treasurer 411 W. 1st Street, Room 120 City Hall, Duluth, MN 55802 October 1st ComfortSystems | 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 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 - PDF File

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.