The Dodge County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Monday finalizing the 2018 tax levies for the county’s various taxing districts.
For taxpayers in the city of Fremont, the total property tax levy—which combines the levies from the county, school districts, fire districts and more—was $2.08 per $100 of valuation, up about 2 percent from last year’s levy of $2.04 per $100 of valuation.
Dodge County Clerk Fred Mytty noted that in several areas throughout the county, property valuations went down. Those include rural areas like Dodge, Snyder and several of the county’s townships.
“If the valuations go down, then the levy has to come up to offset the decrease in the value,” Mytty told the Tribune. “So if that continues to hamper rural areas, they’re going to be looking for other sources of revenue if there is such a thing. It’s really the first time it’s happened in many years.”
Dodge County’s share of the levy was finalized at around $0.27 per $100 of valuation, for a tax request of $11,401,866—up almost 30 percent from last year’s tax request, and up from last year’s levy of around $0.22 per $100 of valuation. The county’s valuation went up by 3.92 percent.
The board of supervisors has previously said that a recently approved $11 million project with Motorola to update the county’s emergency radio system for first responders played an outsized role in driving up costs for the county this year. Also playing a role was additional investment into the county’s PSAP 911 program, which records law enforcement data. The rising costs of housing jail inmates also contributed significantly, board members have said.
Dodge County Clerk Fred Mytty noted, however, that the county levy only accounts for a share of the overall levy, and that other taxing districts, such as schools, still account for a larger share of the overall tax burden, even with the county’s recent increase.
Fremont Public Schools, for instance, has a levy of $1.257 per $100 of valuation, down slightly from last year’s levy of $1.262, but still the highest levy among all taxing districts in the county. Property valuations for Fremont Public Schools went up by 8.16 percent and the tax request increased by 12.9 percent.
Mytty pointed out that the Fremont school district’s levy was significantly higher than other districts’, such as Dodge Public Schools, which has a levy of $.59.
Supervisor Lon Strand of Hooper noted that Fremont is still paying off new school buildings, and Chairman Bob Missel noted that the two districts are very different.
“Fremont’s School District is, no comment. Let’s put it that way,” Strand said. ”They seem to spend money faster than any. It’s like the city of Fremont, they like to spend money as well.”
The city of Fremont’s levy was set at $.40 per $100 of valuation, with a 9.2 percent increase in the tax request. While Mytty had initially presented a higher tax request from the city of Fremont to the board, he later said those numbers were incorrect.
For taxpayers in the city of North Bend, the overall tax levy increased by about 4.3 percent to $1.60 per $100 of valuation.
Taxpayers in the city of Scribner saw an increase in their overall property tax levy by 1.2 percent, while Hooper saw a decrease by 1.4 percent. Taxpayers in Nickerson saw the greatest increase in overall levy, rising by 5.2 percent to $1.80 per $100 of valuation.
“You do see some where the overall change is down, so I mean the county’s levy increase has not affected everybody,” Mytty said.
This story has been updated to include revised numbers, addressing erroneous numbers that had been mistakenly presented by Mytty to the board at its Sept. 26 meeting.