York County to hold LB644 (pink postcard) hearing Monday, Sept. 18

YORK – Next Monday, Sept. 18, at 6:01 p.m., a special hearing will be held in the basement of the courthouse, during which a presentation of information regarding the county’s tax asking for the 2023-24 fiscal year will take place.

This hearing is being required due to the state’s Property Tax Request Act (LB644) which was passed by the legislature in 2021 and took effect in 2022. The Act requires these hearings to be held by a taxing entity if the tax asking increases by more than 2% plus real growth.

The county has to have this special hearing because the county’s tax asking will increase by 6.87% in this new fiscal year.

County property owners have already received (or soon will receive) pink postcards in the mail, informing them of the hearing as well as how much their county property taxes will increase.

The hearing has to be held after 6 p.m., according to state law, so the county has set the hearing for 6:01 p.m.

The hearing will not be a question and answer session, explained York County Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier, as that format is not outlined by state law for this particular type of hearing. However, the public will have the opportunity to make comment.

As explained by Commissioner Obermier and Commissioner Daniel Grotz, the hearing will open with a statement by the chairman about the tax asking.

Here are the basic details:

  • Last year’s tax asking was $8,049,267. This year’s tax asking is $8,602,427.
  • Last year’s property tax levy was .230689 per $100 of valuation. This year’s property tax levy is .232439 per $100 of valuation. In other words, as explained by Obermier and Grotz, if you own a $500,000 house, your county property taxes will increase by $11 because the county’s valuation grew as it did. If you own a quarter of irrigated farm ground valued at $1,165,000, your taxes will go up $25 per 160 acres.
  • The valuation of the county went up by $211 million this year. It was $3,489,230,216. This year it is $3,700,936,880.
  • The tax asking went up $553,160 – again, a 6.87% increase.
  • Regarding the terminology of “2% plus real growth”: As explained by Obermier and Grotz, Statute 77-1631 says, “real growth is anything that exists now that was not on the tax rolls last year.” The county’s real growth was .56%.
  • The county is allowed to have a tax asking growth of 2.56% without having a “pink postcard” hearing. Because of the 6.87% increase, York County is required to have this special hearing.

So why the $553,160 increase in tax asking?

“Personnel costs,” Obermier responded. “It just is. There were raises given and there are some additional staff members who weren’t here last year.”

He and Grotz also pointed out the increases in the costs of “pretty much everything – fuel, equipment, postage, all the products we use.”

“We are paying more for our road patrols, our inmates, everything,” Obermier said. “We can’t stay at zero growth in spending. Well, we could, but then we would also have to greatly cut services.”

Both noted the county board members cannot control the budgets of elected officials, but they can – and did – ask them to hold their individual budget increases to 3%.

After public comments are heard Monday night, that hearing will close as the state transparency requirement will be fulfilled.

Again, the Monday night hearing is solely about the county’s tax asking, not the budget itself. The sole purpose is for the county commissioners to present tax asking information for the taxpayers, as required by state law.

Then, on Tuesday morning, Sept. 19, the commissioners will convene for the purpose of holding their actual budget hearing. Grotz and Obermier said if individuals want to talk about specific budget line items, that will be the time to do so. Following public comment, the budget hearing will be closed.

Then, the county commissioners will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting, during which they will give final approval to the 2023-24 budget, following comment during the public hearing.

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