Over the past two years, retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Ashley Hall has been working as a liaison between the federal government

County Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement reached between the county and the U.S. Air Force for taxing independent contractors who do work for the Air Force on county lands. The agreement will bring in more than $2 million in current and back taxes in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. (Dave Maxwell photo)

Over the past two years, retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Ashley Hall has been working as a liaison between the federal government and Lincoln County on a memorandum of agreement regarding government facilities in the county.

Hall, of Las Vegas, came to the County Commission meeting Sept. 16, to recommend the approval of the settlement agreement between the county and the U.S. Air Force, which has also been approved by the County Assessor and District Attorney Daniel Hooge.

Hall said it has been a difficult two years, with “a lot of time, energy and effort being spent working in areas that you cannot go feel, see, or touch.”

Hooge summarized the agreement to be the working out of problems between federal law, when it pertains to the Air Force, and their presence in Lincoln County.

In some cases Hooge explained, federal law does not allow the County Assessor (Melanie McBride) to fulfill her duties as stipulated by NRS 361 in the normal way. “So this agreement really creates a framework and a protocol for completing the assessment and helping the assessor complete her job and send it on to the Treasurer (Shawn Frehner) so that independent contractors working for the Air Force in the county might be billed for taxes.”

Part of the agreement does entail settlement of some past taxes that were not paid, “but the core of the agreement,” Hooge said, “is to provide a framework for future assessment, and I think it’s a great benefit to the county.”

The Air Force will use their own people to do the assessment evaluations and follow all the proper procedures outlined in NRS 361, then each year provide the County with all the assessment numbers gathered.

For the 2013-2014 year, Hooge said, the assessment is $745,000, and $1,874,000 for prior years not paid, giving the County $2,619,000 sometime in October, and then will go through the assigned process for next year, which Hooge thought would again be about $745,000.

Hooge admitted, “This is not the normal process, but admitted because NRS 361 violates federal law, this is a compromise we have worked out with the Air Force, the County Assessor and Treasurer.”

Commissioners accepted the resolution 3-0, however Commissioners Paul Mathews and Kevin Phillips were absent.

Hooge said the money will be apportioned among various county agencies, and the state gets a cut also.