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County rejects paying for isolation dorm

Staff writer

Tabor College is hoping to find funding for additional housing for students in quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19.

County health administrator Diedre Serene said Monday she had been asked by the county emergency manager Randy Frank to write a health order to provide funding.

But counsel Brad Jantz told commissioners the county could not provide funding because “if we paid for it, it would have to be available to the public. I don’t think they ever intended that to be for public use. It was just intended for their students’ use.”

Last school year, the college arranged to use a portion of the old Salem Hospital building as a quarantine and isolation facility. The building no longer is available after water pipes burst when the heating system failed last winter.

Tabor was asking to be reimbursed for the expense of housing this year, Serene said.

Rusty Allen, executive vice president of operations at Tabor, did not respond to a reporter’s email seeking information.

Property appraisals

Although the state sent commissioners a letter Aug. 25 expressing concern that the appraiser’s office is off the mark on commercial property values, the amount of variance between appraisal values and sale values didn’t fall far from the target.

County appraiser Nikki Reid told commissioners Monday that out of a possible 97 point score for overall appraisals, the county’s score was 96.9.

“It’s on commercial appraisals the score wasn’t as good,” Reid said.

The state expects the difference between appraised value and sale prices to be no more than 20%. The calculated gap between the appraiser’s commercial values and actual sale prices averaged 39.9%.

“We don’t typically have a lot of commercial sales, and that doesn’t help when you don’t have a lot of commercial sales,” Reid said.

Because the gap was too wide, the county was considered out of compliance on commercial property.

Reid said the appraiser’s office would look at a different set of data for 2022 values.

Residential housing has experienced rapid and high-dollar sales in recent months, and appraisals on residential property could well be off in 2022, Reid said.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2021

 

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