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Who pays the most in property taxes?

These four entities made the list of the top 15 largest taxpayers in Douglas County (clockwise, from upper left): Grand Arbor (Knute Nelson) – third, Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center – fifth, Magellan Pipeline – sixth and Viking Plaza – seventh. (Echo Press photos by Lowell Anderson and Al Edenloff)

Douglas County will collect more than $27 million in property taxes this year.

The Echo Press thought it would be insightful to find out who the county's biggest taxpayers are and how much they pay in property taxes.

Douglas County Assessor Keith Albertsen provided the numbers for the top 15 largest taxpayers — not only how much they pay, but also the market value of their properties.

In looking at the list, some may be surprised to see that out of the top 15, six are utilities, one is a railroad and one is a pipeline company. Albertsen explained that the value of those properties typically cover the entire county rather than a single parcel or piece of property.

Four retail-related entities made the list — Fleet Farm, Menards, Walmart and Viking Plaza Mall — along with nursing home/senior care provider, Knute Nelson, Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, and a local real estate developer, UTAH Group LLC.

Combined, these 15 entities pay a total of $5.7 million in property taxes, or about 21 percent of the total amount the county collects.

Here are more details about the top 15 biggest taxpayers:

1. Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency

Total taxes: $711,015

Market value: $26.25 million

Incorporated in 1976, WMMPA provides financing for electric utility-related projects on behalf of Missouri River Energy Services, which has 60 member municipal electric systems — including the city of Alexandria.

2. Northern States Power / Xcel Energy

Total taxes: $559,646

Market value: $20.64 million

Northern States Power Company was a publicly-traded S&P 500 electric and natural gas utility holding company based in Minneapolis. It's now a subsidiary of Xcel Energy. The company power millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states, including Minnesota, and it serves the Osakis area.

3. Knute Nelson

Total taxes: $495,774

Market value: $32.66 million

Knute Nelson offers a variety of lifestyle and housing options — independent living apartments, assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care and nursing home care. Knute Nelson Rehab is located at 420 12th Ave. E. It also has a home care and hospice location at 2715 Highway 29 and two assisted living facilities, Nelson Gables, 1220 Nokomis St., and Grand Arbor, 4403 Pioneer Road SE.

4. Minnegasco/CenterPoint Energy

Total taxes: $488,611

Market value: $16.71 million

CenterPoint Energy is a Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility serving several markets in the U.S. states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

5. Regency Midwest Ventures / Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center

Total taxes: $471,306

Market value: $17.57 million

Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Regency Midwest Ventures Limited Partnership owns several hotels, including Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria.

6. Williams Pipeline Company / Magellan

Total taxes: $415,958

Market value: $13.44 million

Formerly a part of Williams Companies, Magellan has a 9,700-mile refined products pipeline system with 53 connected terminals — including the one in Alexandria — as well as 25 independent terminals not connected to its pipeline system and a 1,100-mile ammonia pipeline system. It also owns about 2,200 miles of crude oil pipelines and storage facilities with an aggregate storage capacity of about 33 million barrels, of which 21 million are used for leased storage.

7. Viking Plaza Realty Group

Total taxes: $380,877

Market value: $11.94 million

The Viking Plaza in Alexandria, reeling with the loss of its two anchor stores, J.C.Penney and Herberger's, has been going through foreclosure while the mall's owners are trying to refinance a debt of about $10 million. Last month, the mall's mortgage was transferred to a New York-based company, Somera Road, which specializes in turning around distressed properties.

8. Great River Energy

Total taxes: $369,844

Market value: $13.74 million

Great River Energy is a not-for-profit wholesale electric power cooperative which provides electricity to 28 member-owner distribution cooperatives, including Runestone Electric Association. Together, its systems serve 695,000 families, farms and businesses in Minnesota.

9. Otter Tail Power Company

Total taxes: $313,264

Market value: $10.53 million

Otter Tail Power is an investor-owned electric utility that provides electricity for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, including several service areas in Douglas County.

10. Mills Properties, LLC / Fleet Farm

Total taxes: $290,240

Market value: $9.11 million

Fleet Farm is a retail chain of 42 stores in Minnesota (including the Alexandria location at 310 50th Ave. W), Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. It is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin.

11. Walmart

Total taxes: $277,741

Market value: $8.72 million

The first Walmart store opened in 1962. Since then, it has grown to become the largest retailer in the world. It has more than 11,300 stores in 27 countries with fiscal year 2019 revenue of $514 billion. The Alexandria store, a Walmart Supercenter, is located at 4611 State Highway S.

12. Menards

Total taxes: $241,031

Market value: $7.57 million

A family-owned company that started in 1958, Menards is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has more than 300 home improvement stores located in 14 states, including its Alexandria location at 215 50th Ave. W.

13. Allete Inc. / Minnesota Power

Total taxes: $223,442

Market value: $8.59 million

Headquartered in Duluth, Allete is a provider of competitively-priced energy in the upper Midwest, and invests in transmission infrastructure and other energy-centric businesses. It's the parent company of Minnesota Power. ALLETE's Minnesota Power electric utility serves 145,000 residents, 16 municipalities and some of the nation's largest industrial customers.

14. UTAH Group, LLC

Total taxes: $222,749

Market value: $7.33 million

This local development company was formed in 1998 and owns several parcels of land, including offices in the Easton Place development at 2209 Jefferson Street.

15. Soo Line Railroad

Total taxes: $219,712

Market value: $7.47 million

The railroad, a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway, transports grain and timber products in the U.S. It was incorporated in 1949 and is based in Minneapolis.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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