The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Tuesday rescinded their vote that gave a small Gering church an exemption on its 2016 property taxes after the pastor failed to file properly for the exemption nearly two years ago. After rescinding the vote, the board then voted to officially deny the exemption.
Gering Bible Missionary Church Pastor Jim Swift had maintained he needed the exemption on a tax bill that has now grown with interest to over $6,000 or his church of 10 people were on the brink of losing their property due to the tax debt.
The board two weeks ago gave Smith his exemption even though County Assessor Amy Ramos and County Attorney Dave Eubanks told them the timeline to make an adjustment had passed and the commission had no authority to give the exemption.
Tuesday night Board Chair Mark Masterton and the rest of the commissioners admitted they should have heeded the advice of the professionals. Masterton said, “We thought we could do it, but we just don’t have the authority and the county attorney told us that. We didn’t really have a choice but to rescind the vote and deny the exemption. “