County Tax Assessor, Keyes Schools challenge Nathaniel Energy tax values

Excise Board decision slashes $3 million plus off Colorado company's tax bill

by C.F. David

According to court documents, Nathaniel Energy has been hit with an appeal from Patti Hiner, the Cimarron County Tax Assessor for property taxes reduced by the Tax Equalization Board.

Hiner, later joined by the Keyes School District, seek to recover just over $3 million in property appraisal for Nathaniel's Sturgis Helium Plant located four miles northeast of Keyes.

The documents, first filed in July of 2004, reveal that Nathaniel had appealed their tax appraisal to the Cimarron County board of Equalization and in that appeal had their tax liability reduced from an appraisal of $4,529,532 to $1,348,083 on June 30, 2004.

Hiner filed her appeal to that decision and the Keyes School District then intervened in the lawsuit in August, 2004.

Nathaniel then objected to the intervention. In the intervention suit, the Keyes School District pointed out that almost 86 percent of Nathaniel's property fell within the geographical boundaries and that any reduction in the valuation of that property would mean a reduction of ad valorem taxes paid to the school.


The school then pointed out that if denied these tax monies, the district's revenue would be adversely affected.

Nathaniel then attempted to prove that the school district had no right to intervene.

That argument was denied on Sept. 16, by the Associate District Court Judge Ronald Kincannon.

On Oct. 12, in its petition of intervention, the Keyes School District asked the court to find that the fair cash value of the property was indeed the $4,529,532 assessed by Hiner.

On Oct. 28, Nathaniel responded that:

H The school district had failed to state its claim

H Did not have a standing in the case

H Asked that the court affirm the decision of the Equalization Board.

On Oct. 27, Nathaniel filed a petition with the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, asking that the court give them relief against Associate Judge Kincannon, and asking that his order allowing the intervention by the Keyes School District be withdrawn.

On Nov. 19, arguing for Kincannon, District Attorney James Boring responded that the taxing authorities in Cimarron County were acting properly to the benefit of subdivisions entitled to share ad valorem taxes.

The court agreed with a Dec. 14 decision, ruling against Nathaniel and placing the case once more in front of Kincannon.



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