Allo Communications officials appeared before the Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Monday night, asking for their assistance to make corrections to franchise fees that were due to local cities but instead were sent to the county for more than 9 years.
From 2011 thru 2018, about $413,000 in fees were sent to the county that should have been paid to the cities of Scottsbluff, Gering and Terrytown. More than $318,000 should have been sent to Scottsbluff, over $95,000 to Gering and and Terrytown was due $67.
Speaking to the board by phone, Allo President and CEO Brad Moline asked for the county’s help by returning the money in two payments that would coincide with the company’s property tax payments to the county. “That way we can balance it, or match, with our property taxes we’ll pay so the county isn’t net out a lot from current cash flow,” said Moline.
County officials heard the request, but said they would take no action on the idea at the meeting. County Attorney Dave Eubanks said as a legal issue, it was basically a breach of contract case that did not involve the county.
“So Gering, Terrytown and Scottsbluff, for nine and a half years, did not receive a single penny, and they never questioned it,” said Eubanks, “The level of incompetence is just mind-boggling here. I mean, I’m stunned.”
Eubanks said he wasn’t sure if the cities could even seek to recover the lost fees, as there is a statute of limitations that would come into play.
County Board members said they would have staff work with Allo to see what the county could, or should, do to help rectify the situation. The issue is expected to appear again during the first Commissioner’s meeting of September.