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City of Orono, Minnesota
The Lakeshore City

Special Assessments

Special assessments are an indirect form of taxation.  They are a compulsory charge on selected properties for a particular improvement or service that benefits the owners of the selected property.  Special assessments are also in the interest of the public.  Special assessments have three distinct characteristics.

  • They are a compulsory levy a city uses to finance a particular public improvement program;

  • The city levies the charge only against those particular parcels of property that receive some special benefit from the program; and,
  • The amount of the charge bears a direct relationship to the value of the benefits the property receives.

  • Special assessments apply only to real estate.  Cities never levy them against personal or movable property.  In theory, special assessments are more equitable than property taxes because those who pay them obtain some direct benefits from the improvements.

¬° LMC, "Handbook for Minnesota Cities," Financing Public Improvements; Use of Special Assessments, 1997, p. 610.

Frequently Asked Questions 

The most common assessments in Orono are sewer & water assessments.  An assessment may also be levied to the property if the current or previous homeowner was delinquent in paying their utility bill.
How Are Assessments Collected or Paid?

Automatically -

The deadline for payment of the balance of an assessment is November 14th each year.  After that deadline, special assessments are collected in annual installments; comprised of principal and interest that have been certified to your property tax bill. 

In Person -

Mail or drop off your payment for the balance of an assessment at Hennepin County or Orono City Offices:

Purchase of New Home -

Assessments are usually included in the closing costs of a home, and must be paid in full prior to closing on a home. 

(Reminder:  Partial payments are not accepted.  A partial payment may only be allowed on a new assessment that has not yet been certified to the taxes for the first time.)

How Can I Find Out If There Are Any Assessments On a Property?

Option #1

Tax books are available at City Hall for public viewing at no charge. 
From November 15 - Mid-February tax books are updated by Hennepin County information may not be current.

Option #2

Request a special assessment search with payoff information from the Special Assessment Department at Orono City Hall. 

  • All requests must be submitted in writing, verbal requests will not be accepted.
  • Include property address for special assessment search.
  • Include contact information, name, address and phone number.
  • Include a $20.00 search fee per address  - payable to the City of Orono.

Once these requests have been received, an assessment search will be completed on the property and a formal letter detailing the specifics of the special assessment will be returned to the person requesting the search.  A copy of this search will remain on file until November 14th each year, or until the assessment has been paid in full.  After November 15th the search letter is null and void.  To find out new payoff information after that date, a new request and payment for search request is required.

Option #3

Use other agencies to find the same information.  Hennepin County would be one resource.  Your real estate agent can also recommend some other options.

What Is The Deadline Or Timeline For Special Assessments?

November 14th each year is the date to remember!

Each year existing assessments have until November 14th to pay the remaining balance in full without accruing any interest before being certified to the taxes for the next year.

To Request An Assessment Search

To Obtain An Assessment Search


City of Orono, 2750 Kelley Parkway, Orono, MN 55356 - Main (952) 249-4600 - Fax (952) 249-4616