Property Tax Pleas in Hall County, Neb.

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February 12, 2011; Source: | In Hall County, Neb., several nonprofits are readying themselves to apply or reapply for property tax exemption. The Platte River Whooping Crane Trust, a 10-acre nature preserve and research facility worth an estimated $1 million, has apparently never applied for property tax exemption and, of late, has been paying $150,000 per year. The trust which has been a nonprofit since its founding in 1978 does not intend to ask for its whole exemption, understanding that such a move would be a problem for cash poor local government, but it wants a $50,000 exemption or one-third of it to reinvest in its own programs.

Also in limbo is the Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus, which mistakenly disappeared off the exempt rolls when, in 2009, it purchased the former Salvation Army Church building in town. Its tax bill (with interest) for 2009 and 2010 amounts to $9,500 and, although the Hall County board voted for a retroactive exemption, this could be overturned by the Nebraska property tax administrator. In context, these are fairly small potatoes since Hall County only has 257 exempt properties now with a combined value of $182 million, but in these times every penny has meaning both to the nonprofits and to local government.—Ruth McCambridge