Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Some properties previously believed to be city property are, in fact, county property


Jacob Misener

Recent zoning questions led to the Frenchman Valley Co-op elevator being taken out of the city’s taxable land totals.

Recently there have been a few changes to how properties in Kimball County have been coded for tax purposes for the 2013 tax season. Some properties previously believed to be within city limits have been rezoned to fall into the property of the county, according to Kimball County Assessor Debra Huff.

"This last year I started looking at the city limits to make sure that we have everything coded correctly, because if you're outside the city limits you have less of a tax rate so I started taking a close look at our city limits and making sure that we had people where they should be," Huff said.

The most notable change to the city's taxable properties is the grain elevators at the Frenchman Valley Coop, which was long believed to fall within city limits.

"In the old maps, the grain elevator is coded as being within the city limits. I asked the city for a more current map of the city limits, and it showed the grain elevator and several properties on 1st street outside of the city limits. There were also a few other places that they should them in and I showed them out and vice versa," Huff said.

According to Huff, this change in the coding of the grain elevators will decrease the city's tax revenue by approximately $17,226.04 for the 2013 tax season.

However, the new coding is not believed to have much of an impact on the financial stability of the city.

"That's a drop of the bucket to them. Their total valuation is about $103 million," Huff said.

Several properties on the west end of Kimball by the cemetery have also been discovered to fall within city limits according to the current maps provided to Huff by the city.

"If you go by the cemetery, up above it there are a few properties and a couple parcels that I believe were outside of the city limits previously, that are now coded as in the city limits with the current map," Huff said.

It is the belief of Huff and the county that all the incorrect coding of the properties within the city due to the out of date maps that had been used previously have been successfully corrected.

"I think we've got everything correct now. I have to go off the map that the city gives me. I can only think of a couple of houses we had outside of the city limits that are actually in the city limits, and I have put them in. I also think there a few little businesses along the railroad tracks that I had in the city limits that are actually part of the county. I've done my best to determine where the city limits actually are so those businesses can have the proper tax levy applied to them," Huff said.

Huff is not quite sure how the coding for the city properties had gone uncorrected in previous years.

"I just happened to discover that we didn't have the correct information here. I don't know if that's anybody's fault that's in office at this time. What's happening now is that the city does send me copies of current changes so I keep up to date now. How that got overlooked in the past, I don't know," Huff said.

In the case of a property being improperly zoned, there is the potential for owners to receive a tax refund under state statute 77-1734.01 which states that in the case of any payments made on a property resulting from "a clerical error or honest mistake or misunderstanding, on the part of the county or other political subdivision of the state or any taxpayer, the county treasurer to whom the tax was paid shall refund that portion of the tax paid."

However, the refund is not automatic, and owners who believe that they are due a refund from the county must file a claim within three years after the date the tax was due which must be made in writing to the county treasurer who will then receive verification from the county assessor that such an error or mistake was made.

After the verification, the claim for refund will be submitted to the county board, and upon verification, the county board shall approve it.

According to state statute 77-1736.06, the county assessor shall determine the amount of refund due the person entitled to refund, certify that amount to the county treasurer, and send a copy of such certification to the person entitled to the refund.

Though Huff is certain that everything within the city limits has been properly coded and the appropriate tax levies have been applied, she is willing to listen to anyone who may believe that their property has not been properly coded.

"I can't think of any residential that were affected. I guess if anybody's on the outskirts and they're wondering whether or not they were affected, they could certainly talk to me, and I can look it up," Huff said.


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