Property taxes have been a longstanding hot-button topic in Nebraska for decades, which isn’t surprising when considering that the state has historically had some of the highest rates in the country.
The exact property tax levied depends on the county in Nebraska the property is located in. In the case of Platte County, the money collected by Platte County from property taxes is distributed to several entities: Columbus Public Schools, the City of Columbus, Educational Service Unit #7, Platte County, the Ag Society, Central Community College and the Lower Loup Natural Resources District.
Platte County calculates the property tax due based on the fair market value of the home or property in question, as determined by the Platte County Property tax assessor.
Residents will often ask, “why can’t the City pay for [a project] with all the property taxes it collects?”
To clarify, the City of Columbus does not collect any property tax revenue. All property tax revenue in Platte County is collected and dispersed to all eligible entities by the Platte County Treasurer’s Office.
The total consolidated 2022 Property Tax Levy Rate was 1.889478.
When looking at the 2022 Property Tax Levy, CPS received the biggest cut (approximately 56% for general education and approximately 9% toward the ‘Columbus 1 Bond’ for the high school) of total property tax revenue in Platte County; the City of Columbus (approximately 17%); Ag Society (approximately 10%); CCC (approximately 5%); NRD (approximately 2%); and Educational Services Unit (ESU) #7 (approximately 1%). Check out this pie chart.
“The City only receives a portion of total property taxes paid, based on the levy set by the City Council,” City Administrator Tara Vasicek said.
Those funds go toward helping the City of Columbus cover the quality-of-life services it is responsible for, such as police, fire, parks and recreation, library and street maintenance, among other things.
The total percentage of Platte County property tax revenue the City receives has hovered around the same place in the last decade. In 2013, the City took in 16.7%. Since then, it received 16.6% (2014); 16.8% (2015); 16.4% (2016); 16.5% (2017); 16.4% (2018); 16.6% (2019); 16.7% (2020) and 16% (2021).