Property tax picture coming into focus in NP

September 8, 2018

Now that the final two weeks of Nebraska’s local government “budget season” have begun, one can expect projected 2018-19 property tax bills for three North Platte homes to tick upward as governing boards set their budgets and tax requests.

Today’s Telegraph “tax tracker” update includes the North Platte City Council’s Thursday approval of its budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. That vote included a combined $8.04 million tax request for the city and the North Platte Airport Authority.

The 3.1 percent increase in the two bodies’ combined tax needs wasn’t enough to cancel the benefits of a dramatic slowdown in local valuation growth for the three homes the paper is tracking as part of its budget coverage.

Our model changes each tax request and valuation total from 2017-18 to 2018-19 figures as each new figure is finalized. The final shape of our sample homes’ 2018 tax bills (payable during 2019) will generally be known by Sept. 20, the state deadline for local governments to approve budgets and submit them to the State Auditor’s Office. Lincoln County must certify final 2018 tax rates by Oct. 15.

As a result of Thursday’s city budget vote:

» Next year’s projected tax bill remains lower than this year’s for Home 1, a two-story, three-bedroom home with a full basement north of the Union Pacific tracks. Its would-be tax cut, however, was trimmed from $45 to $29 as a result of the City Council action. Its individual 2018 taxable valuation of $109,950 was unchanged from 2017.

» Home 2, a one-story, two-bedroom home west of Westfield Shopping Center, saw its projected 2018 tax increase rise from $25 to $41. Its valuation grew from $102,025 to $105,325 this year.

» Home 3, on North Platte’s traditional southwest side north of the South Platte River, would have to pay $214 more next year rather than $170. This two-story, four-bedroom home is currently worth $285,720 for tax purposes, up from $271,775 last year.

The owners of all three homes will receive slight discounts on their final tax bills under Nebraska’s property-tax credit law. They also could qualify in the future (if they don’t already) for a “homestead exemption” — which would lower their home’s taxable value — if they are 65 or older, are disabled or are unremarried widows or widowers of military veterans who died on active duty or from a service-related disability.

The remaining pieces of North Platte’s 2018-19 property tax puzzle will be laid quickly beginning Monday, when the boards of the North Platte Public Schools and the Lincoln County Agricultural Society set their budgets. The remaining local governments are set to follow suit over the following week.

Be sure to pick up The Telegraph regularly over the next two weeks to follow the assembly of our sample homes’ tax bills.

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