City challenges BIA over trust land acquisition for Ponca Tribe

The city of Bloomfield, Nebraska, is disputing a trust land acquisition for the Ponca Tribe.

Under the Ponca Restoration Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is required to place 1,500 acres in trust for the tribe. The law states that the property "shall be exempt from all taxes imposed by the Federal Government or any State or local government after such transfer."

The tribe's White Eagle Express, a gas station and convenience store, would not be required to pay property taxes or collect gas taxes once the BIA acquires the land. That has other businesses and local officials in Bloomfield worried.

"All these businesses, all these affected parties, they should have been given written notice within 30 days," Mayor Phil Schroeder told KCAU-TV.

The city has filed an appeal but it's not clear how far the challenge will go since the acquisition appears to be mandatory. Once the 1,500-acre limit is reached, the BIA is still able to process the tribe's land-into-trust applications on a discretionary basis under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

"The Secretary may accept any additional acreage in Knox or Boyd Counties pursuant to his authority under the Act of June 18, 1934," the Ponca Restoration Act states.

Get the Story:
Tribal Gas Station Files For Tax Exemption, Bloomfield Businesses Outraged (KCAU 11/7)

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