Lower Elkhorn NRD NDN

The fiscal year 2020 budget for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District calls for a slight increase in the property tax levy.

General manager Mike Sousek said last year’s levy was the lowest it had been in 45 years.

“The slight increase is the result of flood reduction projects stemming from the March floods, as well as the lower property valuations across the district,” Sousek said.

After months of discussions, the operating budget was approved by the NRD board of directors at their meeting last week with a tax request of $4,332,004 — an increase of $59,276 from last year, or a 1.4% increase.

The overall operating expenditures show a 38% increase of $2,923,383 from last year.

“For the past seven years, there has been a decrease in property tax asking, reaching a historic low in 2018. It’s becoming more and more difficult to continue decreasing the tax levy year after year. With the 1.4% increase this year, we are expanding our public awareness ... and have more projects and programs on the table to meet the challenges of natural resources management,” Sousek said.

The estimated levy, based on the property tax request, is 2.370 cents per $100 of valuation, which is a slight increase from the fiscal year 2019 levy of 2.314 cents per $100 of valuation. For example, if a person owns a $300,000 house, the taxes owed to the NRD would have been $69.42 in 2019 and will be approximately $71.10 in 2020.

“We continue to maximize the use of our local funds, by bringing in grant money to subsidize our projects. The funds received by the LENRD are returned to the citizens of the district, through projects, programs and studies across all or parts of 15 counties in Northeast Nebraska,” Sousek said.

Some of the major expenditures for fiscal year 2020 include:

n Levee and flood protection projects — $1,858,150

n Water resources programs — $622,000

n Project construction (including flood-related repairs) — $983,000

n Conservation cost-share programs, including the Bazile Groundwater Management Area Project and Willow Creek Best Management Practices — $696,500.

Other area conservation benefits include water quality and quantity programs such as groundwater management, flood control and nitrate management; erosion control, cost-share to landowners who apply for conservation practices, recreation areas and trails, urban recreation and community forestry programs; and many other benefits that protect natural resources.

A copy of the budget documents can be found online at www.lenrd.org/funding-budget/.

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