The City of Columbus is poised to lower its property tax levy by 7% for the fiscal year 2023-2024 when it begins Oct. 1, 2023.
City Administrator Tara Vasicek shared during Monday night’s Columbus City Council meeting that in all, the proposed 7-percent decrease will bring down the City’s levy by 2.26 cents. The proposed rate would be the lowest since 1991.
Vasicek said the decision to lower the levy by 7% did not come easy. It was driven by City leadership and staff’s hard work to help the public, with the city administrator citing the tight housing market increasing overall property tax values and making things more challenging for everyone as a major factor.
See this pie chart breaking down the 2022 property tax levy in Platte County at bigger size by clicking here.
“We see the valuations changing and know the economy is tight. People’s family budgets are more constricted now than they have been in a long time,” Vasicek said. “We’re residents of Columbus too, and we want to do what we can to reduce that pressure while also continuing to provide the importance services the City is known to provide.”
Today, for every $100,000 of property tax valuation, the City receives $315. With the decrease proposed by Administration, that $315 will decrease to $292.
Although the City of Columbus will take a smaller slice of the pie when it comes to the local property tax levy, residents shouldn’t necessarily expect major changes to what they contribute overall. The exact property tax levied depends on the county in Nebraska the property is located in. Locally, the money collected by Platte County from property taxes is distributed to several other entities besides the City: Columbus Public Schools, Educational Service Unit #7, Platte County, the Ag Society, Central Community College and the Lower Loup Natural Resources District. You can look at the breakdown of the 2022 local property tax levy in Platte County by clicking here.
Vasicek acknowledged the City’s expenses have been increasing in recent years just like every other business and family budget. Much effort has been made to gain efficiencies in the budget and still allow the City to provide important services like police, fire and parks. City officials are proud of efforts that have been made.
“For quite some time, we’ve been diligently working to figure out how we could provide the same services but become more efficient so that we could lower the City’s levy,” Vasicek said. “I’m thankful we can lower the levy. But we also recognize needs and wants within each City department and that we can’t address all of them at one time, so we are not doing everything. We are deciding what to do and what not to do so that we can lower the City’s levy for our residents.”