A former Hitchcock County commissioner's perspective
I was county commissioner from 1999 through 2006. I feel that the taxpayers and landowners and voters need to know some facts about the Hitchcock County Assessor's Office.
At a board meeting in 1999 Assessor McDonald approached the board stating that the State of Nebraska required the assessor's office to update their computer system to be compatible with the State of Nebraska's computer system and that the former boards had not allowed Assessor's Office proper funding to do their proper assessing. At this time the State of Nebraska was offering to assume the assessment process of certain sized counties. At that time we as the County Board decided that it was going to cost the county a considerable amount of money to bring everything into compliance so we voted to turn the assessment function over to the State of Nebraska. This took place in July 2000. At that time the state hired Bub Schippert to become assessment manager for Harlan and Hitchcock County. Bub held that position until he retired in August of 2007.
At that time they hired Pam Meisenbach for the position that was held by Bub Schippert. In July 2012 the State of Nebraska returned the duties of the Hitchcock County Assessor's Office back to Hitchcock County. The County Board at that time took applications for the vacancy. Marlene Bedore and Judy McDonald applied for the position of Hitchcock County Assessor. The board voted to place Judy McDonald as the Hitchcock County Assessor at that time. McDonald served as Hitchcock County Assessor from July, 2012 thru 2014.
In August of 2003 Marlene Bedore was hired by the State of Nebraska to be field liaison. Her duties as a liaison were to oversee several counties in Nebraska to make sure they were in compliance with the State of Nebraska state tax statutes. We as the County Board were approached by the State of Nebraska Tax Department to give Marlene an office in the Hitchcock County Courthouse.
They did not want to pay Hitchcock County for this office space. We as the board turned down their request. At that point the State of Nebraska made the Assessor's Office provide space in their office for Marlene. I personally could see that this was not a good move. When my term was up the Board did give her an office away from the Assessor's Office. After Judy McDonald was appointed back as Assessor in Hitchcock County in 2012, Marlene refused to work with Hitchcock County as field liaison. Marlene moved her office into her home and the State of Nebraska appointed another liaison agent to handle Hitchcock County. Marlene resigned as field liaison in January 2014.
In September of 2014 I went to the Hitchcock County Assessor's Office and asked to see the compliance sheets for the prior years. The State of Nebraska Dept. of Revenue, Property Assessment Division had approved that the Hitchcock County Assessor's Office was either in compliance with the State of Nebraska Property Tax Regulations or there was a plan in place to put in them compliance. I find it very interesting that Marlene and other liaison's agents were monitoring the Hitchcock County Assessor's Office, and now she is saying that Hitchcock County Assessor office was such a mess when she took office.
I find it hard to believe the State of Nebraska would not have taken action against the Hitchcock County Assessor if this was the case. Also Judy McDonald was not the Hitchcock County Assessor from July 2000 to July 2012. She was an employee for the State under the supervision of the State Assessment Manager.
I would also call to your attention that the State of Nebraska Tax Department has a hearing scheduled for Assessor Bedore for various reasons that have been published in both the Hitchcock County News and McCook Daily Gazette.
As a former Hitchcock District 1 Commissioner I took an oath to uphold the statutes that regulated my elected position and I believe it is the duty of every elected official to do that.
I'm writing this as I feel that these items needed to be brought to the attention of the Hitchcock County residents. So who is actually responsible for the problems with the Hitchcock County assessment procedures?
This information is all public record either in Hitchcock County Court House, Ne. or at The State of Nebraska Property Tax Department.
Thank you printing this editorial. I pray that the issue of the Hitchcock County Assessor's office be resolved as this issue has severely divided our communities.
I will leave with this 1 COR 13:11.