Voters in six Nebraska counties today will have the opportunity to vote for or against a bond issue that would raise the tax levy cap for the Papio – Missouri River Natural Resources District. General Manager John Winkler says this money is need so work can continue to protect the public from future flooding.
Winkler says, “We did a study of how the system would react to a 100 year storm. It showed about 2.1-billion in damages from one storm. We’ve also seen our flood plain grows by 100% or more throughout the area. These reservoirs would help obviously protect people but shrink the flood plains and bring them back probably into the pre-70’s development stages.”
The proposal would give the NRD Board the authority to increase bonds for future projects to protect against flooding. They would be able to raise the tax levy .7 cents and bring the cap to 4.5 cents. That would increase taxes on a $150,000 home by about $7.
There is opposition to this bond issue proposal. Doug Kagan is the president of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom and says there is no reason for an increase.
Kagan says, “They don’t need the money. They want $91-million in bonding authority. The NRD still has $10-million in unused bonding authority. Last year the NRD raised our property taxes by 23% so they have that money. In fiscal year 2015 they only used 58% of their budgeted funds. In 2014 only 51% and only 38% of their budgets in fiscal years 2013 and 2012 – plus they have stashed about $27 1/2-million in their cash accounts which for some reason the board failed to invest to gain interest.”
This is the first time such an issue has been put before voters.