Will Millard County vote to keep tax abolition?
OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Millard Public Schools is asking voters in their district to reapprove a tax waiver originally passed in 2017.
Removing the levy allows the county to tax up to nine cents for every $100 in property value greater than is allowed by state law without voter approval. The county’s current total fee is $1.21 for every $100 of property valuation.
Snap elections by mail will end on March 14. Ballots were sent to all registered voters on Tuesday. For Millard County residents in Douglas and Sarpi counties, the deadline for registering to vote by most accessible means is Friday. Anyone who misses this deadline can still register to vote by March 3 in person at their county electoral office (Douglas or Sarpi).
Unlike bond issuance, which often occurs in growing school districts as a vehicle to fund new district expansion or special projects, tax waivers are for operations.
“Unfortunately, without the tax repeal, we would be in a situation where significant cuts are needed in our county,” Superintendent John Schwartz said. “It will affect people and programs, which will mean more class sizes, more patients. It will be harder to staff our schools and compete for hiring. And, unfortunately, we will have to review the programs and opportunities that exist for children.”
Schwartz said the county council is financially responsible by never taking more than half of the nine cents approved by voters “because of a promise made to our community that we will only use what is necessary to keep our county financially stable.”
According to the county, Millard’s total collection is the second highest in the metro.
Millard real estate broker Alex Heyen said property and school taxes often play a big role in where people choose to live. With three children in the district, he supports this measure. He wants facilities to keep up and teachers to be supported.
But he wonders if things might change for the county this time around.
“I think people are very sensitive about how much things cost,” he said. “I will support it. But I understand that with the rise in the price of gasoline, eggs and everything else in the world, people are much more price sensitive than usual.”
For a $350,000 home, the nine-cent surcharge equals $350 per year. But Millard says they have never used more than 4.07 cents in tax. This amounts to $142 per year at a $350,000 valuation.
Schwartz said that at the community events they organized, they received a positive response from the community.