As the city’s budget picture comes into focus, a significant hike in property taxes for the new fiscal year is expected. Look for your tax bill to rise 8.5 percent -- an increase of 4.4 cents per $100 of valuation, or $44 a year on $100,000 of property.
Virtually all of that increase will go to pay down the city’s debts.
City Administrator Jim Hawks said city officials knew the increase was coming and tried to refinance bonds to take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in history, to reduce the hike.
Nevertheless, Hawks said the city has to levy more taxes in the coming year to meet the debt obligation, but on a brighter note, he also said the debt service obligation the following year is scheduled to decrease.
This year, the city will call for $2.75 million in property taxes for debt service, compared to $2 million a year ago.
In all, the city budget allows for $26.6 million in expenses in the coming fiscal year, 2013-14, compared to $26.3 a year ago.
Other city levies -- for general expenses and for pension costs -- are steady.
Highest levy in years
The overall city property tax levy will increase for the first time in three years. The levy will increase from 0.47 to 0.52. That will mark the first time the levy has exceeded 0.50 in at least nine years, according to city budget documents.
Under Mayor Marc Kaschke, the city’s property tax levy decreased slightly or remained steady.
Hawks said to do that, $1 million was transferred from a pavement fund in 2011-12 to help offset increasing debt service costs and other costs. Also, a year ago, $820,572 was transferred out of leftover general funds for debt service.
Lincoln County Assessor Julie Stenger reported that the taxable valuation of property in North Platte has increased about 4.5 percent. Stenger put the overall value of city real estate at $1.3 billion compared to $1.24 billion a year ago.
A public hearing on the budget will be held at the city council chambers at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3. The council is expected to approve the budget at a 6 p.m. special meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The 2013–14 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.