- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - An effort to get some new Grand Island businesses to file overdue personal property schedules backfired but has been rectified by the Hall County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors, acting as the county’s Board of Equalization, voted 7-0 Tuesday to knock a total of $5.3 million off six businesses’ personal property values that the county assessor told her staff to inflate, the Grand Island Independent reported (https://bit.ly/1TroUVX ).

Personal property taxes are paid on business equipment, including computers and tools.

Assessor Jan Pelland took responsibility Tuesday for the problem that was created when she asked her staff last year to prepare the schedules for several businesses. She told staffers to put a fictitious value on the schedules and send them to the businesses with directions to correct the values and send the schedules back.

“I did indicate to (staff) to put a value big enough to get their attention,” said Pelland, whose office is elected.

But six of the businesses didn’t notice the valuations - and Pelland said she didn’t double-check - so the values were reflected on tax bills sent out in December.

“When they got their tax statements, it became a problem,” she said.

It turns out Pelland’s office certified a total of $5.5 million of personal property value for six businesses with an actual personal property value of about $220,000.

“It’s a significant change,” she said to the board. “I understand the buck stops with me.”

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com


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