MIDDLEVILLE, ALBION, AND STOCKHOLM TOWNSHIPS, MN After 43 years as a licensed township assessor for Middleville, Albion, and Stockholm townships, Joey Berg is stepping down.
It has been quite an experience. He has been welcomed and told off, strolled through green grass and slid down icy embankments, encountered friendly dogs and less-than-friendly ones, and witnessed the technology used in the field stretch from pencil and paper, to calculator, and on into the digital era.
For those who don’t know, a township assessor evaluates and determines how much property is worth its market value.
“It’s mass appraisal,” Berg said, describing the position. “You appraise all the property within the township every year . . . mainly residential and farms, of course. Some commercial, too. Littfin and John Deere are the biggest.”
It all started in the fall of 1973, when Berg was considering his future. Having grown up on a dairy farm, he initially foresaw following in his father’s footsteps.
“I wanted to farm with my dad, but he said an education was important to have as a backup. So, I did that,” Berg said.
He graduated from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology (now The College of Science and Engineering) with a degree in mathematics.
At that time, a pivotal change occurred in how the state approached township assessment. In the ‘60s, an assessor was an elected position, but in 1973, Minnesota turned it into a hired position that required certification.
“My dad was on the Albion town board,” Berg recalled. “So he knew the position of assessor was going to be open because of the requirement of certification. Most of the current assessors at that time were not interested in going to school, which is what it took to get certified . . . It didn’t bother me. Just a couple more weeks of school, no big deal.”
The year 1973 was a big year for Berg. Not only was he hired as township assessor (for Middleville and Albion Stockholm was added in 1992), but he also got married.
Joey and Connie Berg have three grown children who all live nearby, as well as seven grandchildren.
Berg’s final board reviews for all three townships he served are scheduled for late April. After that, Berg will focus his time on other endeavors.
“I’m the township clerk [in Middleville] and was just re-elected for at least two more years,” Berg said. “I write farm property and liability insurance, and I am the finance guy at Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in Cokato. So, I will continue with those jobs. I’ll still have plenty to do.”
Editor’s note: another longtime local township assessor, Nancy Dahlman of Cokato, is retiring from assessing June 1. She has served as assessor for Cokato, Victor, and French Lake townships. Dahlman declined a request for an interview.