A special meeting by the Syracuse City Council last Wednesday resulted in a formal tax protest, which will be heard by the Otoe County Board of Commissioners at an upcoming meeting.
The tax protest involves 156 acres of land that the City of Syracuse plans to use for the development of a well field.
The City of Syracuse received a notice of taxable status on the land in a document dated for March 1.
Language of the notice indicates that, pursuant to state statute, the land in question would be subject to taxation due to the fact that it was not being used for a public purpose.
Otoe County Assessor Christine Smallfoot said during an interview last week that the county had sought information about the land, and, upon not receiving said information, sent the notice.
A Wednesday vote by the Syracuse City Council indicated the council’s intention to send a protest notice and authorized the mayor to sign said document.
In its response to the notice of taxation, the City of Syracuse states that, although the land had been the subject of a lease to a local farmer, it had also been used for its public purpose both directly, with the drilling of test wells for a future water source for the City of Syracuse, and indirectly, as city engineer JEO has been drawing up plans to be used for the well field and transmission main.
As it relates to the agricultural usage of the land, the City of Syracuse states that income from the lease was not in excess of engineering fees for phase one of the well field project, and, as such, the city did not make a profit on the land.
Wednesday’s meeting allowed the Syracuse City Council to comply with a deadline related to filing a protest.
Commissioners are likely to hear about the protest at one of two upcoming meetings, with those dates being April 9 or April 23.
The City of Syracuse will be allowed to make its case on the matter in front of the board and, after a recommendation by Smallfoot, will take a formal vote on the matter.