Mineral property tax valuation ahead.
The Cassgram reports Cass County’s first decision is what to do about the 2012 valuations. Then the next decision will be what to do about the 2008 through 2011 valuations.
Following a special appraisal years ago, Cass County determined what it believed to be a truer value of mining properties and in 2007 that resulted in Cass County ordering the new valuations for properties with active mining interests. The increased valuations have been on the mining companies’ tax statements each year since.
Some mining companies protested the 2007 valuations. Last year, the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission reversed the 2007 Cass County valuation order. Cass County went to the Nebraska Court of Appeals seeking a reversal of the TERC decision but that court upheld the TERC decision. (For the reasoning behind the decisions, go to the Cassgram Archives on June 13th, 2012)
The county’s order in 2007 resulted in about $9 million in additional valuation which meant about $200,000 in additional property tax revenue billing that year, most going to school districts. Cass County Assessor Allen Sutcliffe said the mining valuations have been around that total amount each year since.
(There are about 20 properties in the county with current mineral extraction operations such as limestone mining, or sand and rock quarries. There are many other properties with mineral assets but no current mining operations.)
The Cass County Board of Equalization (the Cass County Board of Commissioners) will be meeting this week to finalize property valuations after hearing the regular real estate valuation protests earlier this month. The agenda also includes mineral interest discussion as an agenda item.
As to appealing the appeals court decision on the 2007 valuations to the Nebraska Supreme Court, the deadline passed with no action taken by the county. But that still leaves the 2008 through 2011 valuations on the books which did include the higher mineral rights property valuations. Sutcliffe says each year can be handled separately and would start over for any protest/appeal process.
If the past years’ mineral rights valuations are reduced there will need to be some record adjustments and refunds/credits made to those mining companies that paid their full tax bills.
Sutcliffe is aware that some county board members are not in support of continuing the protest/appeals process. He said he will be reviewing the valuations with state officials and Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox and come back to the board in a few weeks with options and/or recommendations on the ‘08-‘11 valuations.
For several years that span numerous board members, it’s occasionally been stated at county board meetings that placing the mineral rights properties in a special classification or the taxing the extraction of the minerals are things that the Nebraska Legislature will ultimately have to address.