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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
of Clay County Government

Assessor Recorder
Attorney Sheriff - Administrative
Auditor Sheriff - Civil Process
Environmental Health Sheriff - Jail & Annex
GIS Sheriff - Warrants & Transport
Highway Department Social Services
Human Resources Treasurer
Planning and Zoning Veteran's Services
Probation West Central Reg. Juvenile Center
Public Health  

Note:  Click the Department Name located above each section below for detailed information for that department. 

ASSESSOR

What is the main function of the Assessor's office?  
The Assessor's main function is to appraise and place a value and classification upon all property within the County. Equalization of value is the most important aspect of the assessment function.   

What does the County Assessor do?
The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing market conditions. In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. Such changes may include draining and clearing the land, improving the adjacent public streets and installing utilities, and adding to or remodeling buildings. All factors are considered in estimating the value of property. This requires physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.

The Assessor also determines the classification, or use, of each parcel. For instance, property may be residential homestead (owner-occupied), residential non-homestead, agricultural, commercial, etc. Each classification is taxed at a different percentage of taxable market value.

How often are properties viewed by the Assessor's office?  
Under State law, properties are to be viewed at least once every five years. Values can be changed on an annual basis (based upon changing market conditions), however, an inspection and appraisal review should be conducted every fifth year. In addition, all new construction or alterations are viewed in the current year.

Won't I be penalized for keeping my property condition up and for improving it?
The Minnesota Property Tax system is based upon the Ad Valorem system. Ad Valorem utilizes the premise that taxation should be based upon value. Well maintained property will be commanding more value from buyers, and hence will experience a higher value than properties that are not maintained.

Should I be expecting to receive and sign a Homestead Application every year?
Annual Homestead Applications are no longer required. The 1993 Homestead Application serves as our base homestead application year, and changes in ownership and changes in occupancy would require a new Homestead Application.

Can manufactured homes receive homestead classification?
Yes. The owner/occupant must also apply, and meet the requirements.

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ATTORNEY

What do I do if I received a ticket for no proof of insurance and I had insurance?

Where to provide proof of insurance:

Law Enforcement Center if your ticket was issued within the City of Moorhead and the court date on the citation has not yet occurred (exceptions would be if you are a juvenile, you must provide proof to the Clay County Attorney’s Office).

Clay County Attorney’s Office if your citation was issued outside the City of Moorhead.

When to provide proof of insurance:

Within ten days from the offense date / citation’s issue date but no later than on or by the court date on the citation; if presented after the court date on the citation, you will need to also be responsible to prove your insurance with the State of Minnesota [(651) 296-6911], as the County notifies the State to revoke based on no appearance or otherwise responding to the citation. If there was no insurance on the vehicle, your appearance is required.

What provides proof of insurance: Law Enforcement Center accepts the Insurance Identification Card as if you had it in your vehicle on the date of the offense, provided it reflects the proper vehicle and the offense date is covered in the effective dates.

Clay County Attorney’s Office requires the Insurance Identification Card to display effective dates that are inclusive of the offense date, as well as the same vehicle as listed in the citation, as well as the specific insurance agent’s name and telephone number to obtain confirmation from that person of the information presented by the person who was cited. Insurance information may be faxed to (218) 299-7281 with the citation and your name, current address (if different than citation), and phone number to contact if the fax transmission is illegible. You are responsible to follow up to make sure the fax transmission was received at this end and that the dismissal of the proof of insurance reached Court Administration timely.

If you are not the registered owner: You must timely [within ten days from the offense date but no later than on or by the court date on the citation] provide the Clay County Attorney’s Office with the full name, date of birth and current address of the registered owner. This information will be verified through Dispatch and, if Dispatch confirms the information, the charge will be dismissed against you, and the registered owner will be recharged.
Other information: Commercial Vehicle citations are all handled through the Clay County Attorney’s Office. All fines are taken by Court Administration, with the exception of Moorhead City parking tickets, which are paid at the Law Enforcement Center. Any Plea Petitions negotiated must be submitted promptly with the full amount of the agreed upon fine, surcharge and fees. If the Plea Petition is not entered into and paid within two weeks (or before the next scheduled court date), it may be considered expired, which would require you to be responsible for the full amount of the original citation.

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AUDITOR

How do I register to vote?
You must complete a voter registration card and return it to the Auditor's Office no later than 20 days before the next election. These voter registration cards are available in the Auditor's Office, with your driver's license application, in your State income tax booklet, or in most state offices. The questions are simple, such as: name, address, birthday, and last address where you were registered.

Do I have to register each time I vote?
No. Your registration is permanent unless you move, change your name or fail to vote for the last four years. If you move or change your name you must complete a new voter registration card so we can update our records. This is true even if you just move to a new apartment in the same building. All voters who have not voted in the last four years are purged from our files, so then you would need to re-register, as well.

Who is eligible to vote?
You must be 18 years old by election day. You must be a citizen of the United States. You must have resided in Minnesota for at least 20 days before the election.

I failed to register 20 days before the election; can I still vote?
Yes, you can register at the polls on election day. However, you do need proof of residence for an election day registration. Minnesota Statute is very specific as to what we can accept for proof of residence for an election day registration, and we can make no exceptions to this. Acceptable proofs are as follows:

  • A Minnesota Driver's License or Learner's Permit which shows your address within the precinct, or a receipt for same.  
  • A Minnesota Identification Card which shows your address within the precinct or a receipt for the same.
  • A registered voter who lives in your precinct who is willing to vouch for your residence.
  • A current registration at a different address within your precinct.
  • A notice of ineffective registration mailed from the Auditor's Office.
  • College students can use a current college picture identification card, plus a certified list of addresses of all college students that we receive from the Registrar's Office, or a current fee statement or registration statement that shows their address within the precinct.  

Additional proof of residence is allowed. An eligible voter may prove residence by presenting one of the photo identification cards listed in Item A and one of the additional proofs of residence listed in item B.

  A. The following documents are acceptable photo identification cards under this subpart if they contain the voter’s name and photograph:
(1) a Minnesota driver’s license or identification card;
(2) a United States passport;
(3) a United States military identification card; or
(4) a student identification card issued by a Minnesota postsecondary educational institution.
 
B.  An original bill for gas, electric, telephone, cable television, solid waste, water, or sewer services is acceptable as an additional proof of residence under this subpart if:
(1) the bill shows the voter’s name and current address in the precinct; and
(2) the due date on the bill is within 30 days before or after election day.

If the photo identification presented by the voter establishes the voter’s identity and the additional proof of residence presented by the voter establishes the voter’s current address in the precinct, the voter shall have proven residence under this subpart.

How do I find out my polling place?
Polling places are listed on the card you received from the Secretary of State verifying your address when you registered. If that polling place is changed for any reason, you will receive a new card. If you cannot locate this card or if you have any other questions regarding elections, call the Auditor's Office at 218-299-5006.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

What tests do I need on my water sample?
The two tests we provide that have the most health significance are coliform bacteria, an indicator of bacterial pollution, and nitrate nitrogen, an indicator of a failing septic system, fertilizers or natural occurrence. $13.00 is the cost for each coliform bacteria and nitrate nitrogen test and other water tests cost $11.00 per test. You need to obtain a special container for the water sample from the Health Department.

What do these results/numbers mean?  Is my water safe to drink?
The two tests we perform that have a real health significance are coliform bacteria and nitrate nitrogen. The bacteria test must be less than 1/1000 ml to be acceptable and the nitrate test must be less than 10 ppm. We can only tell the consumer their water is safe to drink based on the results of the test we provide; this does not guarantee that something else isn't in the water.

My water has a smell to it. What is it and how can I get rid of it?
When water smells like rotten eggs it usually means hydrogen sulfide is in the water supply. This can be eliminated by chlorinating the well and the distribution system and cutting off the anode on top of the water heater.

Am I responsible for having my sewer system updated if I sell my home?
The County ordinance requires that the on-site septic system be inspected and certified by the County upon transfer of ownership. The cost of updating a system can be a bargaining tool for the seller and buyer. It is important to have the system looked at before any papers are signed.

What needs to be done with my sewer if I sell my home?
The Clay County Sewer Ordinance requires that, upon transfer of ownership, the on-site sewer be inspected and certified by the County. If the system does not meet code it will need to be updated.

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GIS

What is GIS?
In the strictest sense, a Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system capable of assembling, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically referenced information, i.e. data identified according to their locations.

What does GIS do?
County governments are increasingly required to streamline business practices while adhering to complex political or regulatory requirements. To do so, they must digest an immense amount of information to perform their duties in a fair and sound manner. Almost all of this information is in some way tied to a geographic element such as an address, parcel, postal code, Census block, or some other component.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology provides a flexible set of tools to perform the diverse functions of government by giving us the data management tools to help accomplish the gargantuan task of managing all this geographic-based information. More important, GIS technology makes data sharing among departments easy so that the government can work as a single enterprise.

Clay County GIS is responsible for providing current accurate geospatial information to all County Departments.  The primary goal of Clay County GIS is to reduce duplication, increase productivity and provide Public Access to data.

How do I get GIS information?
Simply go to GIS on our web site where you can view maps on-line.

What Coordinate System is our data in?
All data is in Clay County Coordinates, feet.

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HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

What is the process to request silt cleanout of a county highway ditch?
The landowner must contact the Highway Department and they will view the ditch, and make an engineering survey if necessary. The Highway Department will stake the project, if necessary, and the landowner will remove the silt at their expense.

Do I need a permit to construct a driveway or field approach that connects to a county highway?
Yes. Any request for an Access Connection (new, changed, modified, altered, re-constructed, etc.) onto a County Highway or public right-of-way which includes any field entrance, driveway or public/private roadway requires a permit. This includes any type of access such as permanent, temporary or field opening.  See the Clay County Access Management Policy section of the County Highway Department's web site for details and permit application.

What is the process to obtain an overload, over height, over length or over width permit for hauling on a county highway?
Contact the Highway Department and they will investigate and issue a Moving Permit if the department feels the highway will not be damaged.

How do I obtain a post for my mailbox?
Mailbox posts can be purchased from the Highway Department but must be installed by the mailbox owner.  The cost is $59.00.  Mounting instructions and an assembly sheet is provided with each mailbox post.   Please see the Clay County Mailbox Placement & Maintenance Policy for detailed information regarding mailboxes.

Who do I contact if I need to do some work or adjusting to utilities within the Highway Right-of-Way (ROW)?
Before any work is done on any utilities within Clay County Right-of-Way, the persons involved must call the Highway Department to get a Utility Permit.  The permit details location and the work to be done.  This permit is reviewed by the County Engineer and recommendations are provided for the completion of the work.  Anytime there is to be any digging, a call must be made to Gopher One State Call.  Gopher One is responsible for Utility Locates and can be reached at 1-800-252-1166.

How are speed limits on our roadways determined?
For detailed information see Speed Limits in Minnesota on the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) web site.

Why roundabouts? How do you navigate a roundabout? 
For detailed information, videos and a brochure see Roundabouts in Minnesota on the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) web site.

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HUMAN RESOURCES

What are your hours of service?
Human Resources is open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How can I find out about job openings in Clay County?
Job openings appear in the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Fargo Forum and are posted on the Clay County website at www.co.clay.mn.us.  You can also stop by the Clay County Courthouse located at 807 11th Street North, Moorhead, MN or call our office at 218.299.5002.

How can I obtain an application form?
The Application for Employment with Clay County is available on the Clay County website at www.co.clay.mn.us or you can stop by the Clay County Courthouse located at 807 11th Street North, Moorhead, MN to pick one up.  You can also call 218.299.5002 to have an application form mailed to you.

How can I get information about a job opening?
Job descriptions are available to read at the Clay County Human Resources Office. You can also call 218.299.5002 to have a description mailed to you.

What is the timeline for submitting an application?
Applications must be submitted between the opening and closing date for the posted position. You can drop off your application, mail it, or fax it.  Applications will be accepted if postmarked by the closing date.

Can I submit one application for more than one position?
No. An application needs to be filled out for each position. You can make a copy of the application leaving out the title of the position and the signature area for your copies. Each application must have an original signature.

Do you accept a resume instead of an application form?
No. You can attach a resume to the application form.

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PLANNING AND ZONING

When is a building permit (zoning certificate) needed?
Any construction, including additions, garages, outbuildings and sheds (in rural Clay County) requires a building permit (zoning certificate). A permit must be issued before any construction can begin. An application can be picked up at the Planning Office on 3rd floor of the Courthouse or can be printed from the “downloadable forms” from the Planning & Zoning Department section of the website. After an applicant or contractor completes an application, it must be presented to the township for their approval. Some township officers will just sign them independently, but some townships require the applicant to come to a township meeting. After that, the application must be returned to the Planning Office, with payment, to receive final approval.

Do you issue building permits for the Cities of Moorhead, Barnesville, Hawley, Dilworth, etc.?

No. The building permits for the cities within Clay County are issued through the city halls.

 

How long does it take to get a building permit?

After a completed building permit application is returned to the Planning office with a township signature and payment, an applicant should allow 7 to 10 days for the permit to be processed.     

What is the fee for a building permit?
There is a base fee of $25.00, plus $1.00 per $1,000 of the value of the structure/addition. (i.e.: the fee for a $200,000 house would be $225.00)

How is the land in Clay County zoned?

Over 90% of the land in Clay County is zoned Agricultural General. Other zoning districts are Agricultural Service Centers (Averill, Baker, Downer, Kragnes, Rollag, Rustad); Highway Commercial and Limited Highway Commercial; and Urban Expansion (extends approximately 2 miles around the Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth). The overlay zoning districts are Landing Field Overlay; Special Protection – Aggregate Resource District; Special Protection – Wellhead Protection District; and Special Protection – Biologically Significant Areas District. There is also a Flood Plain District. The lakes in the County are zoned Special Protection; Special Protection-Low Development; and Residential.     

To find out zoning information on a particular piece of property in rural Clay County, contact the Clay County Planning Office at (218) 299-5002.

The incorporated cities of Clay County (Barnesville, Comstock, Dilworth, Felton, Georgetown, Glyndon, Hawley, Hitterdal, Moorhead, Sabin, and Ulen) manage their own zoning and permitting for properties/structures within their cities.

How do I find out if property is located in the flood plain?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are available on the Clay County Web Site.  The Planning and Zoning staff can assist with looking up flood zones for specific parcels on the maps, if need be.

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PROBATION

What is Clay County/MN Department of Corrections Probation?
We provide probation and supervised release supervision for adult misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor and all juvenile offenders in Clay County. Evidence-based best practices are incorporated in providing this supervision, including assessment, motivational interviewing, case planning and management. Our goal is to ensure public safety by providing this community based service. This agency works closely with the Restorative Justice program in Clay County in an effort to repair the harm done to the victims of crime.

What is the difference between Probation and Supervised Release?
Probation is a court disposition that allows a juvenile or adult to remain within the community under the supervision of a probation officer when adjudicated or found guilty of a criminal act.

Supervised release is supervision in the community after a juvenile or adult is released from a commitment to the Commissioner of Corrections and is returning to the community from a state correctional facility.

What is Community Service Work and how does it work?
Probation administers the Community Work Service (CWS) program in Clay County. CWS is a court imposed condition intended to serve as a consequence and a restorative gesture to the community. CWS can be ordered to satisfy a fine condition, in cases where an offender is unable to financially meet the fine obligation, or as a consequence. Offenders perform CWS at designated work sites which are non-profit, i.e.: government, educational or charitable organizations. Participants are screened for their appropriateness for the program and work sites. The offender's account is credited $8.00 per hour for each hour of work performed.

How can a Juvenile Offender pay restitution to a crime victim?
Clay County Probation uses a portion of the adult supervision fees collected in the county for the Juvenile Offender Restitution Program.  These monies are used to repay a crime victim that has documented a personal financial loss. If a juvenile does not have the ability to repay the victim they can be assigned to this program and complete community work service hours. These hours are computed at $8.00 per hour and a check is sent to the victim by Court Administration.

When is the decision made to place a juvenile in an out of home placement?
In a situation where a juvenile is placed on probation and receives specific conditions to follow, all efforts are made to monitor that the juvenile completes these conditions in a timely manner. However, should a juvenile refuse to comply or continues to violate the courts orders or rules of their probation, a more structured environment may need to be considered.

All efforts are made to prevent a juvenile from being removed from their parental home. Efforts may include crisis intervention counseling, intensive in-home therapy, special school programming, individual therapy, community sanctions and intensive probation supervision.

Any plan to consider out of home placement is screened by the Clay County Pre-Placement Screening team. The team consists of members from Social Services, Probation, the schools and a Mental Health Agency.  If approved, the plan is presented to the presiding Judge who makes the final decision to remove a juvenile from their home.

Clay County Probation continues to provide case management to juveniles in out of home placement.  When a juvenile is released and returning to their home community they are eligible to work with a Transitional Coordinator (TC) through the Reentry Services Project.  The TC provides community-based case management and mentoring to these youth in an effort to make their transition home successful. This is a grant funded program with funds provided by the Clay County Collaborative and the Office of Justice program in Minnesota. In 2010, this program was expanded to allow the TC to work with youth in the community who are at risk of out of home placement.

What specialty courts are there in Clay County?
Clay County has both a Drug Court and a Domestic Violence Court. The agents in our office provide supervision and case management to the offenders involved in these specialty courts.

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RECORDER

How do I get a Civil Marriage License?
If you are getting married in Minnesota, you need to purchase a license in Minnesota. Both the applicants need to apply for a license, show picture ID and provide Social Security numbers, if applicable, and pay a fee. There is a waiting period of 5 days. The license is good for 6 months. If either party has been previously married and the marriage was terminated (death, divorce or annulment), the date of termination and by what court, if applicable, needs to be included. You must be 18 years of age or older to get a Civil Marriage License in Minnesota without parental consent. A 16-17 year old can obtain a Civil Marriage License if the two applicants each complete a set of forms and the underage party’s parents fill out a set of forms. A judge will review the forms and may meet with the applicants and parents. If the judge approves the marriage, a license will be issued.

You do not need to be a resident or have blood tests to get a Civil Marriage License in Minnesota.

Can I get a reduced Civil Marriage License fee?
You can save a portion of the fee on your Civil Marriage License if you bring in a  Reduced Marriage Fee Educators Statement” (PDF:  24 KB) when you apply for your license.  The statement needs to be signed and notarized on the letterhead of the licensed or ordained minister or a person authorized to solemnize marriage under Minnesota Statutes, section 148B.33.  (Note:  The form above is available in the Portable Document Format (PDF).  To view and print the PDF version, you need the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader software.)

Can I get a copy of a birth certificate?
The Recorder’s Office can make certified copies of most Minnesota births. A requester can apply for a certified copy of their own record or their child's, their parent's, their grandchild's or grandparent’s record by filling out a birth application form and showing a government issued picture ID. A requester can also obtain a certified birth record under certain other legal circumstances. Call the Recorder’s Office to determine if they have the record available.

Check Vital Records Services at the U.S. Department of State for information on where to call or write for vital records in other states.  

How can I search a property?
The records in the Clay County Recorder's Office can be viewed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at 807 11th Street North, Moorhead, MN. 
If you have a document number and need a copy mailed or faxed, the Clay County Recorder’s Office will be happy to help you at the time of payment.

Recording is the first priority. If a request is mailed or faxed, we will do limited research at no charge as we have time available. There is a charge for copies and faxing. Requests are processed in the order they are received.  If you need research done quickly, contact an abstractor, attorney, title company or some other type of researcher to help you.

Are there any liens on this property?
The Recorder's Office has information on record for several property liens. The records are open to the public. The most common lien is a mortgage on real estate. A mortgage would include information about the lending institution, the mortgage amount and the due date or enough information to calculate a due date.

Mechanic's liens are liens for unpaid work done on the property. You can search by name for State and Federal Tax liens. The Recorder’s Office staff will do a Tax Lien Search for a fee per name, or you can search the records yourself at no cost.

Judgments will show on an abstract but the information is obtained through the Clay Court Administration Office. When an abstract is brought up to date, an abstract company does various searches in and outside of the courthouse. Searching for liens in the courthouse is not the same as bringing an abstract up to date. Most lending institutions will require an attorney do a title opinion after an abstract is brought up to date to determine if there are liens on the property.

Where can I get real estate forms?
Clay County does not sell any legal real estate forms. FM Printing (710 Main Ave
., Moorhead, MN) (218-233-1531) is the forms distributor for Clay County.

Does the Recorder's Office provide notary services?
The Clay County Recorder’s Office does not provide notary service.
To find a notary public you can check with your personal banker. Any person wishing to have a document notarized must provide appropriate identification for this service, and all signatures must be completed in the presence of the notary. Fees may be charged for notary service.

Are well certificates required on all deeds?
If a transferring document requires a Certificate of Real Estate Value, well information is also required. If there are no wells on the property, the transfer document must contain a statement attesting to this fact, such as:

"The seller certifies that the seller does NOT know of any wells on the described real property."

If there is a well(s) located on the property, a completed Well Disclosure Certificate must accompany the transferring document.

OR

If the seller can make the following statement on the transferring document, a Well Disclosure Certificate is not needed:

"I am familiar with the property described in this instrument and I certify that the status and the number of wells on the described real property have not changed since the last previously filed Well Disclosure Certificate."

The Well Disclosure Certificate form, in addition to further information regarding wells, is available on the Minnesota Department of Health's web site.

Does the Clay County Recorder perform abstracting services?
The Clay County Recorder’s Office does not provide abstracting services. You may contact an independent abstract company for abstracting services. Check out the Alphabetical List of Local Abstractors.

Will the Recorder's Office help me fill out my forms?
No one in the Recorder's Office has a license to practice law, so you will need to contact your own attorney for legal advise and for help completing forms.

Is this land torrens or abstract?
All parcels of land in Clay County are abstract except for the parcels on the Torrens Title Property in Clay County list.

How do you get a passport?
For information and locations to apply visit the U.S. Department of State's Travel Information site.

Can I see the list of pending foreclosures?
Foreclosures are not filed with the courts in Minnesota like they are in North Dakota.  We do not automatically have a list of pending foreclosures.  Foreclosure searchers can search all foreclosure type documents taken in daily and view the documents at the Clay County Recorder's Office.

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SHERIFF - ADMINISTRATIVE

How do I request a copy of my driving record and status?
You must appear in person and present identification.  You cannot request and receive this information by telephone.

How can I get a vehicle released from impound, and when?
Vehicles are only released to the registered owner.  All vehicles must have proper registration prior to release.  Vehicles are released during regular business hours Monday-Friday.  Releases after-hours, on weekends, and on holidays require an additional $10 fee.  Impound fees include a $15 administrative cost, wrecker expense, and any storage.  Storage is $5 per day, not counting the day of impound nor the day of release.  Impound fees must be paid in cash, money order, or certified check unless pre-approved by an administrative supervisor.

How do I get a copy of an accident report?
We need a release of information statement from the owner or driver of the vehicle, or anyone else involved in the accident.  There is a fee for the copy.  If the person involved in the accident is under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian may receive, or authorize release of the accident report.  Release forms are available at the Sheriff’s Office.

Where is the Sheriff’s Office located?
We are in the Law Enforcement Center at 915 9th Avenue North, Moorhead, MN.  Our building is located directly west of the Clay County Courthouse.  After entering the Law Enforcement Center, ask for the Sheriff‘s Office at the front counter.  You will be directed to the Administrative Office.

Where can I have my fingerprints taken?
The Clay County Jail will take your fingerprints for you during the following times:

Mondays 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

You must have a photo identification.  There is a $10.00 fee for this service.  The Jail phone is 218.299.5163.

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SHERIFF - CIVIL PROCESS

What is the most common service performed?
The most common service is the Summons and Complaint.  These are usually the beginning of a civil suit involving one party suing another for unpaid services provided to the Defendant.

Does the Civil Process Division serve other civil papers such as rent notices, notices to vacate, personal undeliverable mail, etc?
Yes.

What is the advantage of having the Sheriff’s Office serve civil papers versus other agencies?
We provide a Certificate of Service for all civil papers served.   The serving deputy may be issued a subpoena to testify in court as to the service.  We also have a wide variety of resources available to assist us in locating individuals for service.

Are there fees associated with the process of service?
Yes.  There is a service fee, unless a court order is being served.  The fees for service are $35 plus mileage.  Mileage costs start at $7.17 and increase based upon distance from the Clay County Courthouse.

What is the process for removing a tenant who has violated the conditions of their lease?
The first step:  the landlord (plaintiff) must present the tenant (defendant) with a written notice stating the reasons for the notice and a time period within which the tenant must reply or act.

The second step:  apply for an Eviction Summons and an Eviction Complaint.  This process is the first step in a legal action against the tenant.  The Summons portion of the matter is the court date when both parties must appear to present their case for the judge.  The Eviction Complaint states the specifics of the action, i.e., non-payment of rent, lease violations, criminal activity, etc.  Once hearing both sides, the judge will make a ruling. 

The third step:  with the ruling for the tenant, the tenant will stay.  If the ruling is for the landlord, a Writ of Recovery will be issued.    The plaintiff presents the Writ of Recovery to the Sheriff’s Office for service.  Once the Writ has been served or posted upon the premises, the tenant has 24 hours to remove their belongings and leave the premises.  The Sheriff’s Office will remove a tenant at this point if they do not comply.

The Civil Process Division performs what other functions?
Conducting mortgage foreclosure sales, redemption of properties, collection of judgments via Writ of Execution or as a result of legal action, as well as assisting other divisions of the Sheriff’s Office with day to day operations.

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SHERIFF - JAIL & ANNEX

When is inmate visitation?
Visitation is Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Each inmate is allowed two 1-hour visits per week.  Trustees are allowed three visits per week.

Hours of visitation are: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

A new visiting list for every upcoming week is passed around to each cell block on Saturday morning.  Inmates may sign up for visitation at that time.  The public may also set up visitation by calling the Jail or Annex requesting a specific date and time.  The public may call anytime Sunday-Friday, and after 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Attorneys and Licensed Clergy may meet with inmates at anytime.  These meetings are not counted as a visit.

What about inmate mail?
Mail may be sent to inmates at the main Jail address: c/o Inmate’s Name, 915 9th Avenue North, Moorhead, MN  56560.  Please make sure the inmate's name is clearly written upon the envelope.

What about phone calls?
Inmates have access to the phone from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily.  At the time of booking, inmates are allowed a couple of free calls.  All other calls are made by using the Jail inmate phone system.  All calls from this phone system are collect and can be monitored.  Attorney calls are free and confidential.  Jail staff will not pass phone messages to inmates.

How do I post bail or bond?
Bail and/or bonds may be posted at any time at the Clay County Jail.  The Jail will only accept authorized bail/bonds persons.  Bondsmen are listed in the phone book.  Bail may be accepted in the form of money orders, cash, and certified check. 

Where do I get information about court appearances?
Court Administration has a listing of court dates and times for inmates.  The Court Administration phone number is 218.299.5065.

What items are allowed to be delivered to inmates?
All property must be mailed to the jail for an inmate.  The only exception will be money, medications, legal mail and clothing for a work release and treatments programs.

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SHERIFF - WARRANTS & TRANSPORT

Can I post bail in another county on my Clay County warrant, even if I have not been arrested?
Yes, your bail may be posted at any county, but a court date must be set for your appearance, by Clay County, for an appearance in Clay County.

Why is the bail on a warrant more than what is owed on a warrant for ‘Unpaid Fine’?
The court assesses a $50 warrant fee when the warrant is issued.  

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SOCIAL SERVICES

Where do all the welfare dollars get spent in Clay County?
Fully 70% of the overall budget gets spent on health care related items. 10% gets spent on the MN Family Investment Program (MFIP) and General Assistance Program. 15% of the budget goes for people with special needs or conditions (such as abused children). The remainder, 5%, goes for Administration and county paid burials. 72.7% of the entire State Department of Human Services budget goes to health care.

What is the single most costly item in the SS budget?
The single most costly item in the budget is related to Long Term Care. This expenditure goes for the elderly in nursing homes and disabled in institutional settings to pay for their care. Approximately 30% of the total agency budget is consumed by Long Term Care expenditures.

What services do you fund out of County property tax dollars in your budget?
County tax dollars provide 11% of the revenues for our agency's total budget. 88% of the County dollars go to fund services for persons with special needs or conditions. Included here are programs for the mentally ill, mentally retarded, the abused and neglected and their families, the elderly, the chemically dependent and children (including day care programs).

What is the fastest growing part of your department's budget?
Costs for children placed outside of their homes has been the fastest growing part of our agency's budget over the last two years. The reason for this is increases in family dysfunction, abuse related issues, mental health issues and corrections related issues.

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TREASURER

When will I receive my tax statement?
Real Estate and Personal Property Tax statements and Manufactured Home tax statements are mailed once a year, usually at the same time.  The mailing deadline for Real Estate and Personal Property tax statements is March 31st.  The mailing deadline for Manufactured Home tax statements is July 15th.

When are my taxes due and what if my tax payment is late? 
See Real Estate and Personal Property Tax or Manufactured Home Tax for related information.

When is my tax bill considered delinquent?
Taxes unpaid through December 31st will be considered delinquent on January 2nd and interest will accrue on a monthly basis.  If the delinquent taxes are not paid by the 2nd Monday in May, the forfeiture process will begin with a court judgment being entered against the property for the unpaid tax, penalty, interest, and costs.

How can I pay my taxes?
You can pay taxes online or via conventional options.

Is there a limit on the amount of an online tax payment?
Yes, the maximum amount of a single online tax payment is $99,999.00.

How do I apply for a State Property Tax Refund?

  • Visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue web site, specifically the Property Tax Refund page, to download the M1PR form and view related information.

  • Order forms by phone at 800.657.3676, day or night.

  • Order forms by mail:
         Minnesota Tax Forms
         Mail Station 1421
         St. Paul, MN  55146-1421

  • Pick up forms at public libraries.

  • You will need your current year tax statement in order to file; the statements are mailed out in late March.


Is there a property tax freeze for senior citizens?
In the late 1970's there was a program referred to as the Senior Citizens Tax Freeze. That program was changed and expanded to include home owners and renters and is called the Property Tax Refund Program. 

Can someone gain ownership to my property by paying my property tax?
No.  A deed signed by the owner is required to change ownership.

I have questions about my property taxes.  Who do I contact?
Contact the Clay County Treasurer's Office with tax questions you may have.  The Clay County Assessor's Office can help with classification or valuation questions.

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VETERAN'S SERVICES

I used my VA guaranteed home loan benefit years ago. Can I renew my eligibility and purchase another home?
Your entitlement to a VA guaranteed home loan can be restored if you sell the home you previously bought and pay the VA loan in full, allow a veteran to assume your home loan and substitute his or her entitlement for yours, or if you pay your VA loan in full and exercise your one time option to have your entitlement restored, even though you still own the home. 

Can a non-veteran acquire a home that has been acquired by VA after foreclosure of a VA guaranteed loan?
Yes.  These homes are available for resale to both veterans and non-veterans.

Does VA home loan entitlement provide cash to the veteran?
No.  The amount of entitlement relates only to the amount the VA will guarantee the lender against loss.

Can I use my VA-guaranteed home loan to buy land I plan to build a house on in the future?
A VA-guaranteed loan cannot be used to buy undeveloped land unless it is part of a package that includes the building of your home.

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WEST CENTRAL REGIONAL JUVENILE CENTER

Who actually gets put into detention?
Young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years who have committed a crime which is punishable in the adult system, as well as youth who have been sentenced by the Courts for up to 90 days. 

Who gets put into shelter care?
Young people ages 11-18 who need emergency care, consequences, or a 30-day evaluation.

What do the youth do while they are in detention or shelter care?
First of all, they all go to school during the day. There is also one-on-one and group counseling, arts and crafts class, and recreation.

How long do youth stay in detention/shelter care?
The overall average stay is about 13 days. However, youth sentenced to our program by the court spend between 30 to 90 days here, while youth waiting for court may be placed for a week or two. Shelter Care stays are between one day and 30 days. 

Do youth get to have visitors or get mail?
Only parents, immediate family, court personnel, and attorneys can visit. There are certain visitation hours to follow. Calls can be made to or received from the above listed people on a limited basis. Mail is acceptable anytime.

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