Lancaster County planning to lower property tax rate

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:42 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -One thing is certain, a vast majority of Lincoln residents will be paying more in property taxes next year. But by how much is up to local governing authorities.

Lancaster County just finished its budget hearings and thinks it can lower the rate for its portion. Property taxes are divvied up between several local entities. The biggest ones are LPS (60.7%), the City of Lincoln (15.9%), and Lancaster County (14%).

Those taxes are taken out based on levies, essentially a percentage of the value of a property. Several county commissioners said their portion of the levy will likely decrease because of COVID-19. Lancaster County said it spent less in operations and netted more money because of the Cares Act.

“Those cost savings are transferred to our cash reserve means this year we start with our savings account already established,” said Deb Schorr, county commissioner.

One of the focal points for the 2022 Lancaster County Budget is raising the Railroad Transportation Safety District Levy.

“That levy does have to increase,” said Rick Vest, County Commissioner. “It was reduced the last two years but a commitment was made to restore that this year.”

But while that’ll be raised, commissioners think they can lower the county levy by about 3%. They said it’s important as property valuations are coming in at nearly an 11% increase.

“These valuation increases, they’re really hurting people,” said Sean Flowerday, county commissioner.

Here’s the breakdown. Right now the Property Tax Levy is just above 28 cents per $100. For a $200,000 home, that’s $563 going to the county.

The county is proposing to lower that by 1 cent. It’s about $20 in savings on a $200,000 home, but countywide that’s about $3 million.

“At a time when property taxes have been going up and up and up steadily, we’re happy to give people some kind of tax relief here,” said Flowerday.

The county is stashing some money away in the cash reserve and saving money for a new criminal justice information system. 10/11 NOW asked the county commissioners if there is any chance the numbers might change or that the levy doesn’t decrease before the budget finalization in August. They said that while the actual numbers might change a little, the board is dedicated to lowering those property taxes.

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