Mineral Rights Appeal

Cass County will appeal mineral rights tax breaks.

The Cassgram reports a decision handed down by the Nebraska Tax and Equalization Review Commission this spring reversed a Cass County order on new valuations in 2007 for properties with mining interests.

It was determined 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 there are no current mining operations on those properties.

The county began efforts several years ago—that included the hiring of a special appraiser—to determine what it believes to be a truer value of the mining properties than what had been used before.

The county’s determination of increased value in 2007 resulted in about $9 million in value which equaled about $200,000 in additional property tax revenue billing that year.

Three companies filed an appeal and the TERC sided with the mining companies this past April. Now the county is appealing the TERC’s decision. County Assessor Allen Sutcliffe says it is scheduled to go before an appeals court but it will be interesting to see if the appeal is picked out for hearing by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox is lead counsel and the county is receiving assistance and support from the state property assessment division and its attorney on the appeal.

Sutcliffe says the TERC’s decision went against Cass County basically because the mining companies claimed the county did not assess all properties with mineral assets the same by including those that don’t have current mineral extraction operations.

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