General Office Information
The Ward County Auditor's Office consolidated with the County Treasurer's Office in 1996, under authority of the "Tool Chest" legislation contained in the North Dakota Century Code.
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer position had been elected for a number of years, but became an appointed position effective the 1st Monday in April, 2002.
The office is the financial and administrative hub of the Courthouse, responsible for all financial matters, assessment records, tax collection and allocation; elections and clerking for several boards and commissions.
Chief Financial Officer
As the Chief Financial Officer for the County, the Auditor/Treasurer oversees all financial action, ensuring that funds are used properly. Before the County Commissioners approve payment of bills, the Auditor/Treasurer checks all of the requests for payments.
The Auditor/Treasurer's Office also handles all aspects of county payroll checks, related reports, and benefits records. They are required to prepare year end financial statements. However, most Auditor/Treasurer's also prepare quarterly statements and many provide the Commissioners with monthly statements.
Additional duties that were formerly under the Treasurer's Office include: the keeper of all county funds; collection of taxes and distribution of tax monies to the taxing districts (city, school, park, township, etc.); invest county funds for availability, safety and rate of return, provide property information to lender, realty agents, lawyers, accountants and the public.
One of the most important jobs the Ward County Auditor/Treasurer does is the budget process, which begins and ends in the Auditor/Treasurer's office. Sometimes after the fiscal year begins on January 1, the Auditor/Treasurer starts preparing the budget for the following year by compiling revenue, expense and levy estimates. By summer a preliminary budget is ready for the Commissioners to examine. The final budget is approved by the Commissioners in October.
Tax Collection & Allocation
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer also computes market and taxable land valuation for taxation purposes, and generates tax statements lists. Other tax related duties include preparing tax abstracts, personal property reports and Homestead Credit Reports. Tax abatements approved by the Commissioners are also processed.
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer assists townships with budget preparations. Mill levies are calculated for all taxing districts (cities, schools, township, fire districts, water resource boards, park districts). The Auditor/Treasurer's Office disburses tax monies collected for these political subdivisions at the appropriate time.
All deeds, patents, contract for deeds and new subdivisions brought to the Recorder's Office for recording must be transferred by the Auditor/Treasurer's Office, to certify that delinquent taxes are paid. Recent legislative changes now require all current and delinquent taxes be paid before a deed can be recorded. The Auditor/Treasurer maintains records of County owned property, obtained through tax proceedings. He or she also maintains records of legal descriptions for taxation purposes.
Real Estate tax statments are mailed each December. By North Dakota Century Code, they must be mailed by the 26th of December. Mobile Home tax statements are also mailed in December.
Failure to receive a statement shall not relieve the owner of liability, nor extend the discount privilege past the February 15th deadline. Please call as soon as possible if you do not receive a statement. It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify our office of address changes.
A 5% discount is given on the consolidated tax for both real estate and mobile homes if paid (or postmarked) on or before February 15th of each year. For Real Estate the 1st half plus the full amount of yearly installment of special assessments are due by March 1st; the second half is due (or postmarked) on or before October 15th. For Mobile Homes the 1st half is due by March 1st; the second half is due by July 1st.
Receipts are mailed only upon request.
No refund is given if an overpayment is $5.00 or less.
Click here for a Current Penalty Schedule.
When Taxes Aren't Paid
The County depends upon receiving the estimated tax revenue in order to pay for all the services included in the budget. However, sometimes people don't or can't pay thier taxes. If the Real Estate taxes aren't fully paid by October 15th of the current year, they are considered delinquent. Please note this does not apply to property that is in foreclosure; at which time the County takes posession on October 1.
If Real Estate taxes remain unpaid for three years, the Ward County Auditor/Treasurer serves a foreclosure notice, and the County becomes owner of the property on October 1 of each year. For more information contact our office at (701) 857-6420.
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer prepares tax deeds on all land foreclosures and conducts a sale of property on the 3rd Tuesday in November of each year. Private sale of foreclosed property is held throughout the year.
Special Assessment Pay-off
Outstanding balances on special assessments for County properties are paid at the Ward County Auditor/Treasurer's Office. Call 857-6420 for more information.
Outstanding balances on special assessments for City properties are paid at the applicable City Auditor's Office:
Des Lacs 725-4376
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer is the election administrator for Primary, General and Special County, State and Federal elections. Effective in 1994, City elections will also be held in conjunction with Primary elections. The Auditor/Treasurer trains election workers and prepares, distributes and tabulates ballots. The Auditor/Treasurer is also part of the Board which canvasses, or examines, election results. The Secretary of State certifies the results.
Executive Secretary to the County Commission
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer schedules meetings, prepares agendas, and takes minutes at the Board of County Commissioner's meetings. Board members may ask the Auditor/Treasurer to process correspondence or research County records to provide them with accurate information. The Auditor/Treasurer also acts as the secretary for the County Park Board and County Planning Commission as well as other committees as appointed by the Board.
Other Duties of the Office
The Ward County Auditor/Treasurer's Office has several other duties including: maintains an inventory of fixed assets; reviews and updates insurance coverage for County property; verifies daily cash sheets; coordinates distribution of hunting and fishing licenses between vendors and the general public; issues beer and liquor licenses; issues bingo and raffle permits; issues gaming and site authorization permits; duties of personnel director handling personnel files, information on group insurance programs, flexible compensation programs and personnel policies.