SIDNEY – Cheyenne County Assessor Jordan Hajek recently presented the county commissioners three 451 Exemption Applications for Tax Exemption. The exemption would be on real and personal property by qualifying organizations. 

The Cheyenne County Commissioners convened as the board of equalization during the June 17 commissioners meeting. 

"So, this is from the 451s that I brought before you earlier. These (3) are the State took a deep dive into and are calling on you guys to reconsider," Hajek said.

The first is for the Cheyenne County Hospital Association, the second for Sidney Table of Grace Mobile Food Pantry and the third Cheyenne County Community Center. Hajek said the State sent back valuations to be reconsidered. 

“These are all properties that we have already exempted,” Commissioner Randy Miller asked Hajek. “Now the State of Nebraska is coming in and saying that’s not accurate. We need to look at these again.” 

Hajek said the State of Nebraska is going against the county’s approval. She presented the 451 Exemption requests to the Board of Equalization in an earlier meeting.

“This one is for the land that sits under the Dorwart Cancer Center,” Hajek said. 

She said she and Sidney Regional Medical Center CEO Jason Petik agreed to leave the parking lot exempt and only taxing the four grass lots. She said she contacted the State and the State would approve it. The decision would change the location from 100 percent exempt to partial exempt.  She said State officials said they would support it.

According to Hajek, the State said a qualifying organization purchases a vacant lot is for future use. However, if it is held idle for years, no exemption is allowed during the time the land sits idle because it is not used for an exempt purpose.

Commissioner Miller objected to the State review of the county's decision.

"I think it is absolutely ridiculous. I'm just ... livid," he said.

Miller said the property is not future development of the hospital. It is property the Hospital District has owned for several years. He then asked County Attorney Paul Schaub what would happen if the commissioners vote against the State's call for partial exemption. Schaub said the State would probably schedule a hearing with the Tax Equalization Review Commission. 

"We have to put out our case, they put out theirs," Schaub said.

The commissioners as the Board of Equalization voted to deny the 451 Exemption Application for the hospital. 

The Board of Equalization did agree with the State regarding Table of Grace Mobile Food Pantry and the hotel. 

"That I agree with. They're getting income. What they're doing with that income is entirely up to them," Miller said.

The State also reviewed the youth center near St. Patrick Catholic Church, the new Training Room, and the child care center at the Cheyenne County Community Center. According to the State, the youth center and Training Room should be taxed, and the child care center exempt.

The Board of Equalization denied changes for the three properties under the Cheyenne County Community Center.