The Chadron and Crawford school boards are holding budget hearings tonight in a joint session at 6:30 at the Chadron High School Auditorium.
Crawford will go first, followed by Chadron.
Such hearings are required by a new state law for all taxing units whose requested dollar amount of property taxes for the new budget year exceeds specific limits – 2% in the case of schools.
All property owners in the Chadron and Crawford school districts received postcards announcing the hearing and saying the districts were proposing to collect more taxes than allowed – also part of the new law.
Supporters, primarily from eastern Nebraska, argued the hearings and notifications were needed because their local taxing entities tried to keep their regular budget hearings from being publicized.
Chadron School Superintendent Ginger Meyer says that’s never been the case with her district, although the regular budget hearings seldom draw much public input.
Meyer says levy-neutral means that the tax rate for the district is remaining the same at $1.05 per hundred, the maximum allowed for many years. The Chadron district is exceeding the new law’s 2% limit on collection increases because of higher valuation.
Crawford’s situation is different. Superintendent Mo Hanks says the proposed tax rate for the new year is higher to meet a variety of needs, but is well under the $1.05 limit because his predecessor sharply reduced it when he arrived 5 years ago.
Both the Chadron and Crawford school boards will still need to meet and approve the budget and property tax rate for the fiscal year that begins Saturday. Chadron’s is immediately after tonight’s joint hearing at 7:15 in the district office.
Similar county budget hearings were held last week in Box Butte and Sioux Counties. The Sioux County school board is meeting in special session tonight at 6:00 in the high school to take final action on the budget and taxes.