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Writer: CREP acres should be classified as CREP grassland PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 06 August 2015 19:52

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your coverage of the CREP controversy in last week’s paper. I would like to clarify one slight misquote and comment on several of the assessor’s statements. I was quoted as saying that CREP acres should be valued as grassland. I believe I said that they should be classified as CREP grassland and assessed according to sales of other CREP acres. Both the assessor and board of equalization as well as the Department of Revenue agree with this.

The time frame for which these sales are to be measured is from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2014. There were five qualified sales during this time: one in Oct. 2012; three in Dec. 2012; and one in Dec. 2013.

These sales were clearly in the middle of this time frame and not near the beginning as the assessor stated. Their date of sale is relevant only when the next year’s sales inventory is created, then the first twelve months drop out and the succeeding twelve months are added.

The assessor has stated that there were not enough arm’s length sales to set an assessed value. I have identified five qualified sales from the assessor’s sales file. I have spoken to two officials with the Dept. of Rev. who both said that although that is a relatively small number it is sufficient given that those acres sold equal seventeen percent of all CREP acres in the county. Were that not a sufficient number, counties are allowed to borrow sales from adjacent counties in order to establish an assessed value.

The assessor’s statement that other counties assess CREP acres as irrigated is neither accurate nor is it relevant. Hitchcock County assesses CREP at sixty-five percent of irrigated.

Both Hitchcock and Hayes Counties are assessing CRP acres at less than dryland. Just because neighboring counties have not followed Dept. of Rev. directives does not mean that Chase County should ignore them as well. That would be irresponsible to say the least.

I would agree with the assessor’s statement that as CREP contracts near expiration that the value for CREP acres will increase.

However, that is speculative and Dept. of Rev. regulations state that land will be assessed according to present use which is CREP grassland and not some future use which may be irrigated or reenrolled in CREP or converted to dryland or grass. If sale prices do increase, sales data will reflect that and assessed values will increase accordingly.

Any discussion on this matter must fall within the scope of what the rules say, not on what we wish them to say.

In my appeal to TERC, I am confident that they will accept only what is pertinent and what is provable. I expect to win my appeal. Unfortunately, that is probably a year away.

Duane Dinnel

Wauneta, Neb.