County to refund thousands for mistake

A special meeting of the White Pine County Commission was held on June 30 at the request of the County Assessor Debbie Underwood after her office over assessed Nevada Bell for an amount of $33,162.98. The commission approved a refund for the amount, which will come out of a mix of the general fund and various county entities, such as the school district and the hospital.

In a letter written by Underwood addressed to the commission, the County Assessor said the erroneous assessment came after the Department of Taxation handed over all telecommunication companies to the counties in which they are located.

“Our error was entering the data as the acquired equipment date being 2013 instead of the actually acquired date. This greatly affected the depreciation they should have received on all their equipment,” the assessor’s letter read.

According to the County Finance Director Elizabeth Francis, the $33,162.98 collected in error was divided among all the beneficiaries of the county’s tax dollars. As such, the amounts will be refunded in the same way, with the deduction to be reflected at the end of the year’s payments. The largest refund will come from the general fund, with an approximate $15,000 deduction, with the school district accounting for another $8,200 and the hospital for $4,500.

“I deeply apologize for the error made,” Underwood’s letter continued. “Checks and balances will be put in place for the future to help prevent this from happening again.”

In the County Commission’s regular meeting held on June 25, the commission voted to rescind the motion to proceed with the county library extension under a design build. The vote came after the commission discovered that a recent NRS stated that a public body could not approve a “design build” with a maximum budget under $5 million. The library expansion will still move forward with a maximum budget of $735,000 instead under a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR).

“The CMAR will allow for flexibility and a close working relationship with the commission similar to how the recent White Pine Aquatic Center was constructed,” County Commissioner Laurie Carson said.

Other notable action from the meeting included the commission’s approval of the 2014-2015 JAG Grant for $89,998.35 to be awarded to the Sheriff Department’s drug task force. the grant includes $74,070 from the general fund.

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