Who pays the most in property taxes?
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.
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.
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.