Dear Editor: After figuring and paying my property taxes for Perkins County I came to the realization that I may have reached an age where Depends are needed. I looked at the breakdown of the taxes and saw where a majority of them go to the schools. Here I get mixed messages. I read where the school board is spending $6 to $10 million to expand the high school and build a state-of-the-art gymnasium. All without a vote by the people. I then read where PCHS is dropping to 8-man football and board members see a possible need to cut programs because of lack of enrollment. Don’t get me wrong, I taught high school for 30 years and coached for 34 so I am not anti-education, but I definitely see a conflict here on expansion and significant drop in enrollment. I maintain a home in Brandon but my primary residence is in Monument, Colo. Here it is impossible to do something of this magnitude without a vote of the people, so I wonder why it can be done there. If it is truly necessary, so be it, but if it is “build it and they will come” or about the legacy of school board members when taxes have skyrocketed over the last few years I believe the community should have decided. I lived in Perkins County when there was a school in every town (I went to Venango) and the town was centered and thrived because of the school. I have seen what happens when the centerpiece is taken away as well. I realize it is too late to change what is happening, so I paid my taxes and had my say. I read about the Plainsmen and Larry’s piece every week and wish them well. Richard Stewart Monument, Colo.
Let’s abolish central assessment system
Dear Editor: In Nebraska most of the large rich corporations owning land and easements in Nebraska are centrally assessed. The Nebraska Supreme Court has brought into the reasoning that an elected county assessor does not have the ability to assess and tax large corporations in Nebraska. In the past, state statutes regarding the assessment and taxation of centrally assessed corporations was labeled “secret.” Now at least the word secret is gone. The large corporations with their railroads and underground pipelines are still centrally assessed but should be assessed and taxed like everybody else. The county assessors should have the power to do that. Easements are real estate by Nebraska law and should be assessed and taxed as such. However, very few easements in Nebraska are assessed and taxed even though the valuation of the easements are simple. Just ask the landowner who gave the easement—he knows how much he was paid. These easements should be assessed and taxed each year like the rest of real estate. The legislature should abolish the central assessment system. This would go a long way to equalize real estate taxes in Nebraska. Sincerely, Frank B. Svoboda Ogallala
County officials’ duties clarified
Dear Editor: We have heard that there is some confusion about the duties of county officials, particularly as to the handling of tax receipts and the dispersal of funds. We think that a clarification of those duties is in order. When we pay our taxes to the county treasurer, that office then credits each subdivision that is listed on the tax statement. This then reflects what is available for paying of the county’s obligations. The treasurer is also to keep these funds invested so that there is some earning from these funds until they are needed. The treasurer is the keeper of these funds until the commissioners direct the funds to be spent. This is done when the county clerk presents the bills or claims to the commissioners in the open meeting. Those claims then become warrants given to the county treasurer. The treasurer’s office then gives one check to the clerk, and the clerk pays the bills as presented to the commissioners. The treasurer’s office DOES NOT PAY BILLS. It is the county clerk’s and commissioners’ responsibility to send out the checks in an orderly manner. The county treasurer DOES pay out tax funds collected to school districts, municipalities, the hospital district, fire departments and other entities. The directive boards or councils of these entities then pay their own bills. This system is in place to insure that there are checks and balances in place to protect the county monies. It is important that we keep people in place who understand the system and have the experience and knowledge to carry out those duties. It is our opinion that County Treasurer Patsy Kroeker has done a good job fulfilling her obligations in looking after Perkins County resources. Lyle and Doni Holaway Grant