Point of Beginning

Maps don't match; county attorney wants help sorting out section lines

January 21, 2008
When Red Willow County, Nebraska, landowners contest their taxed acreage, county officials discover that a series of land surveys, which have been used to apportion taxes, do not match. Now officials must decide what to do.


Straightening section lines in northwest Red Willow County and making them correspond with county roads and survey maps could keep the county's roads superintendent busy "the rest of his natural life."

County Attorney Paul Wood asked commissioners, during their meeting Monday morning, to allow him to contact John Hanson, a McCook attorney who specializes in real estate and land title issues, to help the county decide what to do with section lines and county roads that do not match the large "cadastral" maps that county assessor Sandra Kotschwar uses to apportion taxes.

Roads superintendent Gary Dicenta told commissioners that a series of land surveys in the northwest corner of the county are confusing at best. "Section lines are not on the county road," Dicenta said. "And it gets worse around the old air base."
It has been discovered recently -- as landowners contest the number of irrigated acres for which they will be taxed -- that the cadastral maps (a map used to make a cadastre, an official registry of quantity, value and ownership of real estate to determine taxes) that Kotschwar has always used, the original U.S. Government field notes, a 1923 resurvey of the original survey, a 1946 survey of the air base by the deputy state surveyor and a 1962 Bureau of Land Management survey for lakes and irrigation do not match.