The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

'Accountability' Proves To Be a Convoluted Process


The discussion started as an effort to designate a printer for post cards, and evolved into a debate on a legislative bill.

In the Cheyenne County Commissioners July 5 meeting, the agenda included a line item on designating a printer should the county need to conduct a special meeting. The meeting would involve all local taxing districts that went above a certain growth percent. The requirements are defined in Nebraska's LB644. LB644 creates the “Property Tax Request Act.”

“The Property Tax Request Act provides a political subdivision may set its property tax request at an amount that exceeds the prior year's property tax request if a public hearing is held and notice of hearing is provided to all affected property taxpayers; and the governing body passes a resolution or ordinance,” according to the bill's summary.

The reason for the post cards is “each political subdivision within a county wishing to request more property tax dollars than requested in the prior year shall participate in a joint public hearing,” the summary says.

The summary says the public hearing is to be held after 6 p.m. on or after Aug. 20. Each political subdivision participating in the hearing will give a brief presentation on its intent with the increased tax request.

The Property Tax Request Act requires the following items to be included in the presentation by a political subdivision: - The name of the political subdivision. - The amount of the property tax request. - The percentage difference in the total assessed value of property. - The tax rate which would levy the same amount of property taxes per $100 of assessed value as the prior year, when multiplied by the new total assessed value of property. - The (name of political subdivision) proposes to adopt a property tax request that will cause its tax rate to be $XXX per $100 of assessed value. - The percentage the total operating budget of (name of political subdivision) will exceed last year's total operating budget. - The name, phone number and email address of the political subdivision to obtain more information regarding the increase in the property tax request. Interested parties will be given the opportunity to give oral testimony at the joint public hearing within a reasonable time limit that shall be no less than 3 minutes. There is no restriction on the numbers of individuals allowed to testify.

Discussion in the commissioners meeting indicated the hearing is for any increase above 2 percent in growth of a tax district.

In other business, the commissioners approved an agreement with Rauner & Associates for the 2022-23 fiscal year, and an update of the Emergency Management plan.

County Attorney Paul Schaub updated the commissioners on the Opiod Settlement. The county entered an agreement to receive funds from a national settlement previously. On July 6, Schaub said the first installment to the county would be about $4,300; four payments after that would be about $200 each, he said. Schaub said the funds would likely be used for law enforcement training.


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