Dundy, Lincoln Counties appealing TERC ruling on augmentation land
Both the Dundy County and Lincoln County boards of equalization have appealed decisions by the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) declaring government-owned property used for augmentation tax exempt.
Similar rulings by TERC in July declared property owned by natural resources districts for the purpose of augmentation tax exempt.
The Upper Republican NRD developed an augmentation project in Dundy County above Rock Creek.
In 2013, the Dundy County commissioners, acting as the board of equalization, ruled the land was not tax exempt. That decision was then appealed by URNRD to TERC.
The URNRD contended the land used for augmentation represented a public purpose since the water pumped from the project helped keep Nebraska in compact compliance with Kansas. TERC agreed.
State statute says property owned by the state and its governmental subdivisions is exempt from taxation to the extent the property is being used or developed for a public purpose.
Public purpose is defined as the use of the property: 1) to provide for the general operation of government; or 2) to carry out duties and responsibilities conferred by law, with or without consideration.
TERC’s ruling applied to the tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The ruling also defined some of the property that is being leased to private individuals by the URNRD as taxable property.
Since the 2013 decision in Dundy County, the URNRD has paid the property taxes to the county, despite their appeal.