No decision made on putting ag land on tax rolls

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. All four natural resource districts involved with the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement heard public comments from the public about the project.

Landowners For A Common Purpose have led the series of meetings. They say NCORPE can legally sell the land, despite the agency saying the contrary.

Lincoln attorney Stephen Mossman was present at Thursday's meeting and verified that there is no legal obstruction to selling the property while maintaining all of the groundwater use to continue the augmentation project.

"Myself and the group doesn't understand why the NRD needs to be in the land business; we didn't think that was the intent of an NRD," said Landowners For A Common Purpose representative Kirk Olson. "We hear about a wind project coming down and we hear about a hog farm outfit coming in, it looks like your direct competition was what agriculture is to us."

District 42 Nebraska Senator Mike Groene expressed his concerns with the project.

"All we are asking is sell the land. You don't need it. You don't need the headaches, do you?" Groene said.

Creighton financial expert Dr. Ernie Goss presented his economic study on how the project will adversely affect Lincoln County tax payers over a seven year period.

"It will cost the Hershey School District $226,000," Dr Goss said. "The North Platte Public School District; now North Platte is indirect property tax. In other words, the three parcels that are in NCORPE, the property tax are being paid on those. Wallace School District almost $2.3 million dollars in property taxes."

Board members will take the comments under advisement and hope to make a final decision soon.

In other business, the board voted to allocate 120,000 acre feet to the Republican River NRD over a ten year period, and 40,000 acre feet will go to the Twin Platte NRD.