Local News

The first signs of Nebraska’s summer 2019 “budget season” have appeared, both online and in many property owners’ mailboxes.

Individual Lincoln County taxable valuations for 2019 are now available by visiting the county’s GIS website at lincoln.gworks.com and entering a property’s address, County Assessor Julie Stenger said Thursday.

Her office also has mailed notices to property owners whose initial valuations rose or fell from their 2018 levels. State law excuses assessors from mailing notices when individual valuations don’t change.

The county’s unchanged group of valuations includes all three North Platte homes — one north and two south of the Union Pacific tracks — on which The Telegraph reported last year as their 2018 property tax bills gradually took shape.

We’ll follow the same three homes this summer, graphically showing the relative impact on their tax bills of each budget and tax decision by the eight local governments claiming pieces of their property tax bills.

Because their taxable valuations haven’t changed, there’s nothing to display for now. The owners of all three homes, though, retain their right to file protests of their 2019 valuations with Lincoln County commissioners.

County Board members, who also form the county’s Board of Equalization, have until July 25 to review and rule on claims that the Assessor’s Office erred in setting a particular valuation. Their decisions may be appealed to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission and ultimately to district court.

For 2019 protests to be considered, they must be filed by June 30 with the County Clerk’s Office in the North Platte courthouse. Protest forms may be printed out from the assessor’s website, but completed forms must be submitted to the Clerk’s Office.

The Assessor’s Office will accept annual applications for homestead exemptions and special “greenbelt” valuations, which it must receive by June 30.

Special valuations may be applied to agricultural land with nonagricultural uses outside city or village limits. Homestead exemptions are available in some cases to property owners who are 65 or older, disabled, a military veteran or a veteran’s widow.

To print out protest, homestead and special valuation forms and eligibility requirements, click on “Assessor Forms” at co.lincoln.ne.us/assessor.

Local governments that receive property taxes will be working on their budgets throughout the summer. Not until Aug. 20, however, will the Assessor’s Office certify the total taxable valuations on which their respective tax requests will be collected.

Public hearings and votes on 2019-20 budgets will generally follow in September, though some local governments will hold public budget work sessions earlier in the summer.

Local governments must approve their budgets and file them with the State Auditor’s Office by Sept. 20, and the County Board must certify final local property tax rates by Oct. 15.

Stay tuned to the print and online Telegraph (nptelegraph.com) for our upcoming coverage as North Platte’s 2019-20 local budgets and tax bills take shape.

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