Lincoln homeowner to pay less in taxes

NANCY HICKS – Lincoln Journal Star 

Property taxes on many Lincoln homes will actually drop next year, primarily because the Lincoln Public Schools, the biggest local property tax user, reduced its tax rate by almost 1 1/2 cents.

The owner of the average-valued home, assessed at $184,800 for both tax years will see an almost $33 drop in total property taxes, between taxes paid this year for 2017 and taxes to be paid next year for 2018.

Individual tax payments are a complex dance between property values and tax rates. And this year the dance favors residential property.

Most homeowners did not see any increase in their value for the 2018 tax year and the total tax rate itself is lower by 1.9 cents (per $100 in valuation) than the previous year.

The property tax good news doesn’t apply to commercial property, which was part of the county assessor’s reappraisal efforts this year. An average 10.3 percent increase in commercial and industrial property value can be attributed to the reassessment.

So most business property owners will see an increase in their total tax payments, despite the drop in the tax rate.

County assessors are required by the state Constitution to keep assessed property values on the tax rolls as close to actual sales values as possible. That is intended to created a fair system, where all property is valued similarly for tax purposes.

Lincoln Public Schools, which collects about 62 percent of the local property tax, reduced its tax rate because of substantial increases in the district’s two main revenue sources, state aid and property tax revenue.

The other major property tax users, the city and county, kept their rates the same.

All three subdivisions – schools, city and county – will actually collect more in property tax revenue because of increases in the total property value.

This is the second year in a row Lincoln’s total tax rate dropped. It dropped by about a penny for the 2017 tax year.

The other factor in the property tax system, the state property tax credit, which is intended to take the edge off local property taxes, dropped slightly on a per-taxpayer basis in Lincoln.

 

SAMPLE BILL

The average Lincoln home is assessed at $184,800. Here’s what the homeowner will pay local governments in 2019.

 

Lincoln Public Schools                $2,289.94

City of Lincoln                                $584.86

Lancaster County                          $492.63

Southeast Community College    $167.61

Lower Platte South NRD                 $57.68

Other                                                $114.25

___________________________________________

Total                                              $3,706.97

– State credit                                   (159.85)

___________________________________________

Final bill                                         $3,547.12

After accounting for a state tax credit that decreased slightly, the average homeowner will pay $32.74 less in property taxes than last year.

But the tax credit drop from $87.95 to $86.50 per $100,000 in valuation on residences and businesses, made little difference in the tax comparisons between the two years.

The property tax is a major source of income for local governments in Nebraska. Tax rates for local governments are set by boards of elected officials – Board of Education members for schools, the City Council and mayor for Lincoln, and county commissioners for Lancaster County.

Rates for some small jurisdictions are set by boards made up of elected officials and sometimes private residents. These include the Public Building Commission, the Railroad Transportation Safety District and the Lancaster County Correctional JPA, which is paying off the bonds for the new county jail.

Lincoln Journal Star – October 17, 2018