YORK – After months of work and weeks of conversation, as well as a LB644 tax asking public hearing and a separate hearing for the budget itself, the York County budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year has been passed.
The county commissioners gave their final stamp of approval Tuesday morning, while convened in regular session. Earlier in the morning, they convened for the single purpose of holding the public hearing. After a comment session was allowed (with only one person speaking), they closed the hearing.
There are employee raises built into the different departmental budgets, although some are smaller than what was initially requested by department heads.
This fiscal year, the county’s tax asking will increase by 6.87%. Last year’s tax asking was $8,049,267. This year’s tax asking is $8,602,427.
Last year’s property tax levy was .230689 per $100 of valuation. This year’s property tax levy is .232439 per $100 of valuation. In other words, if you own a $500,000 house, your county property taxes will increase by $11 because the county’s valuation grew as it did. If you own a quarter of irrigated farm ground valued at $1,165,000, your taxes will go up $25 per 160 acres.
The valuation of the county went up by $211 million this year. It was $3,489,230,216. This year it is $3,700,936,880.
The tax asking went up $553,160 – again, a 6.87% increase. The tax asking went up that much because of personnel costs, the commissioners have said. They acknowledged raises and some new, additional staff positions.
Another reason for an increase in tax asking is the higher costs associated with fuel, equipment, postage, products, housing inmates, indigent inmate defense attorney fees and more, as they have explained earlier.
Later on in their regular meeting, they took up the issue of actually passing the budget and tax request.
“We had our tax asking meting last night with roughly 30 of our bosses present,” York County Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier said. “We did what was required and we accepted comments as well as took questions for another hour. We took some body-blows about the budget, but when people come to these meetings they are there about the end numbers. I know there is angst to some but we did a good job and some budget trimming in the process. I appreciated the members of our county family who were there last night. This is the first time we had to have one of these meetings and it won’t be the last. I did miss seeing representatives from other taxing subdivisions there, as we were there for them (school districts) last year when they were in the hot seat in one of these hearings.”
“It was good to hear the people’s concerns and what they face,” said Commissioner Woody Ziegler.
“We had the meeting we were required to have and I don’t think answering questions was a bad thing, even if it wasn’t required,” Obermier said further.
“I thought the evening was fantastic,” said Commissioner Stan Boehr said to Obermier. “You did a great job of explaining it, they caught on, they had great comments and they responded in a positive way thanks to the way you proceeded through it. I think it was a great meeting. It was good for us and good for them.”
“The crowds in York County typically are very civil,” Obermier said.
“And they were not accusatory,” Ziegler added. “They just asked us why this happened and we responded to the input last night.”
“Maybe relying solely on property tax worked 100 years ago, but not now, so here we are, still in the mess,” Boehr said. “And the state screwed up in allowing city sales tax, it should have been county sales tax. We are where we are.”
The commissioners unanimously approved the tax request and budget.
“It was a tougher one this year and I think next year will be tougher,” Obermier said.
“Well, the people aren’t happy with the increase, but inflation is causing problems for everyone,” said Commissioner Jack Sikes.