By Dennis Morgan
Petitions are now being circulated in Antelope County seeking the removal of Antelope County Assessor Julie Harrison from office.
Antelope County Clerk Carolyn Pedersen, said petitions were picked up Thursday to be circulated by organizers of the drive. They claim Harrison “has unfairly and unequally raised land values in one area of Antelope County, while similar land in other areas remains the same, thereby placing a disproportionate burden on taxpayers. Antelope County taxpayers deserve equal treatment from their elected officials, no matter where the taxpayer resides in the county.” Principal circulator for the recall is John L. Hruby.
Pedersen said as part of the petition process, circulators will have until 4:30 p.m.on Friday, Oct. 24 to collect the necessary signatures.
If the petitions are turned in, the county clerk’s office has 15 days to validate the signatures. If there are enough signatures collected and validated, the necessary number being 796, Harrison would then have five days to resign. If she does not resign at that time, Pedersen said the matter will then go to the Antelope County Board of Supervisors who would then schedule a special recall election to be held no later than 45 days.
By Lynell Morgan
At a meeting held at the Oakdale Community Center on Monday, several farmers and homeowners gathered to share what they’ve discovered in terms of information used by the county assessor to determine land values, how the formulas have been applied and vent their frustrations at treatment they’ve received by the very people who are supposed to work for the county residents. Piles of papers on the tables documented the who-was-getting-valued-what facts but it was evident that more than taxes was on the minds of those in the room.
According to Elgin farmer Harold Miller, “If it (agland valuations) would have all been raised, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.” When he questioned the increases in valuation despite the fact that there had been no improvements or changes made to the condition of the lands, he said Antelope Co. Assessor Julie Harrison’s response to him was “but the potential is there.” End of conversation.
Attorney James Meuret of Brunswick and Elgin farmer Leroy Becker both pointed out that something is amiss when it comes to who is afraid of who. Becker recalls a history teacher in school telling his class that “the Boston Tea Party wasn’t about tea, it was about taxation without representation,” he said. “What we have is valuation without representation which equates to taxation without representation,” Becker concluded.
As Meuret later added to the conversation, “we have people scared of an elected official when it should be the other way around.”
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