Tribe, county debate land - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Tribe, county debate land

Commissioners do not want to lose $9,900 in taxes generated by land

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Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The dispute is over 142.6 acres in Kootenai County on the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Reservation.

More precisely, it's over the property taxes - around $9,900 per year - that land generates.

Kootenai County doesn't want to lose that annual allotment should the land go into trust - essentially when it's taken off the tax rolls and given to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

The Tribe is upset the county would put up such a fight. They said the property taxes pale in comparison to the amounts it donates annually around the county.

"I think, for us, it's distasteful at best," said Helo Hancock, Tribe legislative director. "It's land we paid top dollar to get back and in a lot of ways it's degrading."

But the Kootenai County commissioners don't want the land to go.

They recently appealed a decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs that would have allowed it to go into trust.

Losing tax revenues is always tough, said Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie, especially when state and local coffers are shrinking.

"It's always a concern," Currie said of the potential loss and county appeal. "We're in that process (of appealing and) we're going to sit down with the Tribe and discuss it."

Tribe Chairman Chief Allan said on Wednesday he hoped a resolution could be reached. If not, he said the Tribe could look past Kootenai County when it gifts millions of dollars every year.

"Should our money go elsewhere?" Allan said Wednesday during a meeting between Tribe and city of Coeur d'Alene officials. "That's kind of where we're at."

Putting a land into trust is a method tribes use to recover native lands they have lost.

Before 1934, the federal government allowed homesteading without Indian permission on the reservation, which cost tribes their property. In 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act which transferred any remaining lands to Indian ownership. Now, when tribes buy pieces of those lands back, they can put them into trust and off the tax rolls.

That's what happened to the land in question. It's called the 'Ramsey Property' and sits in the north section of the county on the reservation. The Tribe, which owns around 18 percent of the land on the reservation, bought it back around 10 years ago. Before applying for trust status, the land was in fee status, meaning the Tribe paid taxes. In 2006 they applied for trust. That was recently approved but, unbeknownst to the Tribe until a month ago, prompted the commissioners' appeal.

The Tribe called the appeal "disturbing" in a June 18 letter to the commissioners, leading them to believe the county "either does not appreciate or does not believe that the Tribe is doing its fair share for the community to offset the loss."

The letter points to millions of dollars the Tribe annually donates to services inside the county, including $1 million to schools, $1.1 million for Citylink, the county's free public transportation provider, and $2.9 million on road and transportation related projects around the reservation among other civic donations in 2009 alone.

It's also in discussions with the county to help locate a dump site in Worley.

That could fill the void from the lost $9,900 each year on the property, Hancock said. It would be the first land to go into trust on the reservation in 30 years, and there are federal programs for local governments to receive money to offset those lost revenues, he said.

Currie didn't comment on whether the county would withdraw the appeal, but said the next step is to meet with Tribe officials. A time for that meeting hasn't been established.

"The sooner we can sit down and talk, the better," Currie said. He said he has heard concerns and feedback from various members of the community since the appeal.

City Councilman Mike Kennedy, who attended Wednesday's meeting with Allan, said the city of Coeur d'Alene would be interested in drafting a letter to the commissioners in support for withdrawing the appeal.

"We will do what we can to help," Mayor Sandi Bloem added. "We understand how much you are investing - and that's a good word, investing - in our communities."

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • cdalunatic10 posted at 10:47 am on Tue, Jul 13, 2010.

    cdalunatic10 Posts: 1


  • Marc Stewart posted at 9:27 am on Tue, Jul 13, 2010.

    Marc Stewart Posts: 9

    I encourage everyone, including Mr. Lugnut to call me with questions 686-2023.

    There is a lot of misinformation on this thread. Here are some facts:

    The Tribe pays more than $100,000 in property taxes in Kootenai County and $118,000 in Benewah County every year. The Tribe is the fifth highest taxpayer in Benewah County. The gaming compact requires the tribe donate 5 percent to education. The tribe has the discretion on where those dollars go.

    The Tribe donated $1.8 million to schools last year and of that $1 million went to schools in Kootenai County.

    The Tribe spent $2.7 million on roads in Kootenai County last year.

    Plummer-Worley Schools received $1.1 million in federal impact aid as a result of land being held in trust.

    The Tribe saves Kootenai County taxpayers an estimated $150,000 annually because it maintains a 14-person police department and is able to assist the sheriff's department thanks to a cross deputiziation agreement.

    The Tribe spent $1.1 million on Citylink last year, which was $600,000 over the anticipated amount.

    The Tribe donated $50,000 to the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce this year.

    The Tribe donated $5,000 to TESH, a nonprofit.

    The Tribe donates $100,000 annually to the Kroc Center, which has about 20,000 members.

    Kootenai County and Benwah County Commissioners have been told in public meetings that the Tribe is willing to work out solutions to the issue of losing tax revenue as a result of land going into trust. The Tribe is meeting with Kootenai County this week. Benewah County has yet to make contact with the Tribe.

  • straight up posted at 12:09 pm on Sat, Jul 10, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 959

    "The tribe only gives what is required to."

    OK, your statement, ball is in your court.

    Please provide your proof that the CDA Tribe is required to make any of the listed contributions. (i.e. the million dollars to the Kroc center.) Prove that they only give what you claim is a mandated 1% to the communities of their choice.

    What Federal and/or state statues define what you claim mrlugbut?

  • mrlugnut posted at 8:02 am on Sat, Jul 10, 2010.

    mrlugnut Posts: 12

    The tribe only gives what is required to. They don't pay hardly any taxes already. We Americans have to pay what the tribe doesn't. Like it or not, this is America! We should all be treated the same. Why can't I open a casino and make millions of dollars a month? I would gladly give the 1% that the tribe is required to give back to the communities of their choice. They are in Benewah County, but most of the money goes to Kootenai County. The Tribal school gets the majority of the money donated to Benewah County. This country is so close to a revolution. Don't get me wrong, our government is NO better than the tribe. Money talks, not values.

  • straight up posted at 6:40 am on Sat, Jul 10, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 959

    That "other" paper posted this information in their article on this subject.

    "Allan’s letter pointed out that in 2009, the tribe donated more than $1 million to Kootenai County schools, allocated $1.1 million for the county’s free public bus system, paid $100,000 toward its $1 million donation to the Kroc Center, donated $500,000 to other charities and spent $2.9 million on road- and transportation-related projects. Hancock said the tribe donates significantly to the community to offset the loss of tax revenue."

    I ask again, what has "our" government given in 2009?

  • straight up posted at 6:13 am on Fri, Jul 9, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 959

    I'm speaking of both the Tribal Government and the people themselves who "seem" to this outsider to be supportive of all the Tribal Council does. I don't see the people swilling booze all day and hanging out moaning and groaning about how bad they have it like other tribes I have lived around in the past.

    mrlugnut - if you followed local news you will have noted numerous gifts by the tribe that go way beyond school taxes and the like. Things they certainly do not have to provide. Examples that come to mind are police cars and as I recall school buses. They could just take all their revenue and split it into checks for each tribal member as some tribes do, but they choose to generously share with surrounding communities rather than horde it all for themselves. As for them being "takers", well what I see is quite different from our local governments. What exactly has your government given to you? I can cite plenty of "take" from them, but darned if I can think of one "give."

    And you are correct they do not have to follow the same rules as "the rest of us." You see they are categorized as a "Sovereign Nation" which you or I, or Coeur d'Alene or Kootenai County are not. Different rules for sure, but not something we'll never see changed. We can be jealous and bitter over it or we can deal with it.

    "Tribal sovereignty in the United States refers to the inherent authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves within the borders of the United States of America. The US federal government recognizes tribal nations as "domestic dependent nations" and has established a number of laws attempting to clarify the relationship between the United States federal and state governments and the tribal nations. The Constitution and later federal laws grant to tribal nations more sovereignty than is granted to states or other local jurisdictions, yet do not grant full sovereignty equivalent to foreign nations, hence the term "domestic dependent nations". Source:

  • local res posted at 11:39 pm on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Take Back and mrlugnut are you two speaking on the tribal government or the people of the Coeur d Alene nation?

  • mrlugnut posted at 8:56 pm on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    mrlugnut Posts: 12

    Takeback the usa, You are correct. The tribe is just a bunch of takers. The ONLY reason they give the money away to schools is because they HAVE TO! The tribe does not play by the same rules as the rest of us. It is total B.S.

  • isntitironic posted at 7:16 pm on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    isntitironic Posts: 55

    I've known many good, friendly people in the CDA Tribe over the years. I urge Kootenai County to reconsider this course they have taken.

  • Littlewest posted at 4:43 pm on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    Littlewest Posts: 15

    Takebacktheusa. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe paid their share of taxation forever when they undertook to share their land with the United States. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe was taxed again when they were denied access to their fair share of the land's wealth. Kootenai County is asking the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to pay taxes and in essence, give back a share of the inadequate amounts transferred to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

  • Thaddeus posted at 7:31 am on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    Thaddeus Posts: 232

    Mark this day down!!!!! I actually agree with Mr. Herzog.

  • straight up posted at 6:32 am on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 959

    I've lived all over the SW among many different tribes.

    Some truly are pretty much "woe is me where's my check" tribes.

    I see the CDA Tribe as absolutely the best of the best.

    You can see their generosity and willingness to share their revenue all the time when they donate to many community projects that are not remotely considered "tribal."

    Bad call TBUSA. The CDA Tribe is not deserving of your ridicule.

    Commissioners - drop your folly and let the measly 10K go!

  • Tim Herzog posted at 6:09 am on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 375

    Hey readers...this guy, TakeBack is just unbelievable in making statements. I certainly hope that our local tribe doesn't revert to the ways of old and take his scalp for showing such disrespect.

    In fact, if you read his constant gibberish daily you will wonder why somebody hasn't already had a serious talk with him. He is probably safe from losing his hair, if he has any, because Indians don't do that any more.

    One thing is for sure, he doesn't have a real name because nobody could possibly post their real name after making such ridiculous and stupid statements.

  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 5:12 am on Thu, Jul 8, 2010.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    What a bunch of total BS. The local indians aren't worth the air they breathe. I'm sure everyone knows that the true translation of their tribal name is the GIMMIES. GIMME, GIMME, GIMME. These indians live in the US and should pay taxes just like the rest of us. If they had been assimilated 150 years ago they'd be a lot better off today. For sure, there is nothing in any irrelevant treaty about not having to pay sales taxes or property taxes. That's all made up libtard hooey.

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