TERC reduces assessed value of CREP land

Owners of Chase County land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program won a protest over the assessed valuations for 2015.
    The Tax Equalization Review Commission (TERC) ruled in late January that in 2015, Chase County’s board of equalization (comprised of the county commissioners) and assessor over-valued the land in the irrigation retirement program.
    In 2015, on the recommendation of County Assessor Dotty Bartels, commissioners set the value of irrigated land (including CREP ground) from a range of $4,445 to $4,190 per acre, depending on the quality of soil.
    The ruling by TERC ultimately reduced the value of CREP land to $3,330 per acre.
    Nine different owners of CREP land protested the values on 23 different parcels.
    Bartels said she valued the CREP land as irrigated land, because the land still  had allocated acres and was capable of being irrigated. However, CREP contracts prohibited irrigation on the enrolled tracts during the length of the contracts.
    Duane Dinnel of rural Wauneta was among those contesting the valuations.
    More than a year and half ago, a group of landowners organized by Dinnel appealed the county’s decision to TERC. The decisions just came down Jan. 23.
    Both Dinnel and Bartels appeared before TERC in June 2016 to make their case during a day-long trial.  
    Dinnel provided TERC with comparable sales of CREP land that could be used to set a market value. Some of the comparable sales were in neighboring counties.
    Bartels disputed several of the sales because one was a judicially-ordered sale and another was a forced sale. She also disqualified the out-of-county sales.
    TERC agreed with her on the out-of-county sales but did allow the other two as comparable sales.
    Based on the median sale price of the parcels, TERC set a market value of $4,625 for CREP land. Dinnel sought a market value of $4,247 but TERC increased it since some of his sales data was not allowed.

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