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Water rates rising and property taxes dropping, but neither by much

North Platte City Council
The North Platte City Council Special Meeting
The North Platte City Council Special Meeting(Lindsey Bonner)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 8:37 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - North Platte’s City Council is doing what city councils do. The group of elected officials is examining whether North Platte will grow, or not grow. And with North Platte’s mall in a state of transformation (the Platte River 6 is now open, turning on at least one light at the end of the construction “tunnel”), the North Platte City Council must estimate and consider the future.

In doing so, a one-percent budget authority was granted on Thursday evening at a special meeting in the City Hall Council Chambers, because when cities grow, so do their responsibilities. The move is a conservative one, according to the city council, but a necessary one as growth seems imminent.

All agenda items were approved via unanimous vote by the North Platte City Council.

Pay scales for salaries were discussed. Mayor Brandon Kelliher said a “wage comparison study” is being planned before the end of the fiscal year in hopes of addressing outdated salaries, comparing them to other communities and jobs.

As for the issue of property taxes? The savings are there, but it is not going to be very noticeable for an average citizen. Mayor Kelliher citing examples explaining that very little can be done at the city level to make drastic changes to the bottom line. Miller broke it down, saying property taxes decreased by .11 percent, which means, if you owned a home valuated at $100,000, you’d save 47 cents. There was a public hearing before this agenda item passed, but no person addressed the North Platte City Council.

Mayor Kelliher, addressing the board, made the point that as the city council cuts property taxes, they don’t add a lot to the bottom line of a homeowner. He said sales taxes are more important.

And revisiting the issue of growth, the potential of a meat packaging plant coming to town was brought up while discussing issues surrounding water and wastewater. The City Council noting that regardless if Sustainable Beef, Inc. is built or not built, North Platte’s current wastewater treatment facility is 20-years old, and in need of enhancements. Adding, if Sustainable Beef, Inc. is built, TIFF money is to be used for things like “testing for impacts on the existing lagoons.” The fact is, according to council members, that the current facility is aging and rates must increase a bit to pay for improvements.

North Platte’s Public Service Director Layne Groseth advised the City Council that even with a rising rate of water or wastewater, North Platte will remain one of the towns with low rates for the services. Comparable communities have rates ranging from $40-$75 per month. North Platte’s rates should average $45.

The full meeting can be viewed by searching North Platte City Council on youtube, or by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/CJV34S5cfho

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