Taxes pay for necessary functions such as maintenance of county roads, the sheriff’s department, county parks, garbage disposal and the prosecution of criminals.
To protect the county's legal interests, civil attorneys provide regular training for county staff on liability reduction, contracts and procurement, and data practices issues.
The civil division works to preserve those taxpayer funds by defending the county against lawsuits as well as proactively seeking debt collection and appearing in bankruptcy and conciliation courts on both state and federal levels.
The torts team responds to civil claims and lawsuits filed against the county and its employees in state and federal court. On average Hennepin County litigates approximately 60 cases a year in state or federal court.
An example of successful litigation helped preserve the the Midtown Greenway. Xcel Energy was ordered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to bury a transmission line, rather than run it overhead along the Midtown Greenway. The added costs will be shared by all of Xcel’s customers rather than only its Minneapolis customers.
The real property team represents the county in property tax appeals, condemnation matters and other property related matters.
Attorneys handle property tax petitions where property owners, commercial or residential, contest county-assessed values and/or classifications. Usually, people file a tax petition either because they think their property has been valued too high or because they think their property is exempt from property taxes. In these cases, attorneys represent the county assessor’s office or the assessors in the cities of the county. Nearly all of the cases are resolved without going to trial. Often, the person bringing the petition dismisses it. Sometimes there is a negotiation and the property valuation is reduced. When more expensive properties such as shopping centers pay their fair share, each individual homeowner can pay less.
Civil attorneys also help establish conservation easement agreements.Learn more about conservation easements.
Landowners who wish to establish a conservation easement should contact Hennepin County Environmental Services at 612-348-3777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.