The Kearney County Board of Equalization also met during the March 19 with only a couple of items to discuss.
The most pressing item was the public hearing for tax exempt status for the Pioneer Village motel and campground for 2013-14.
With the 2011 case now going before the Nebraska State Supreme Court, Harold Warp Pioneer Village Foundation decided to fight the Tax Equalization Review Commission’s (TERC) decision that the village motel and campgrounds should not be tax exempt and remanded to pay around $25,000 taxes on the valuation of the two entities of around $1.3 million.
Also going into the meeting the board knew they wouldn’t know the outcome of the 2011 tax case and that the 2012 tax year was also going to TERC for a ruling on that year’s decision by the board of equalization to keep them tax exempt.
At the meeting supporting their position for Pioneer Village were Harold G. Warp (Skip), Marshall Nelson, General Manager; and Foundation member Larry Wilcox.
Nelson opened the hearing with a summary of the past year and highlighted some events that happened at the village including such things as the Invention Convention, Fiber Fun Day and with a total of eight major education events which complemented the village’s educational mission and the overall operation of the foundation.
Nelson also added some of the new items they have acquired including a vintage 1934 Harley Davidson motorcycle, Dowry Chest from 1879 and a 1940s American Road Equipment Road Grader. He continued with the facilities continue to be upgraded and repaired which is an on-going process.
“Our goals and purpose did not change in 2012 and will not change in 2013,” Nelson concluded his remarks with.
Board members asked Nelson about upping the price of the rooms at the motel to offset the possible taxation but he informed them that it would not cover the difference and they wanted to keep the price low to be competitive in the market.
“The decision TERC made should not influence the decision on today’s 2013 issue,” Nelson stated. “We appreciate the support from the board and we will try to continue to be successful.”
Next up to talk was Skip Warp, Harold Warp’s son, and current foundation president.
“If we lose this exemption – it will be the end of Pioneer Village as we know it. The foundation board meet last month and explored options to merge with other museums and have even discussed an exit strategy.”
The full article can be found in the March 27, 2013, edition of the Minden Courier.