The general manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District says he’s hopeful the Legislature will re-authorize the three cent property tax levy for use in ground water and integrated water management activities.
Wednesday, the Legislature’s Revenue Committee has been taking testimony on LB 134, which would give such authority to fully or over-appropriated natural resources districts, such as the North Platte NRD.
John Berge tells KNEB News the funding is important, while admitting the timing of the bill may not be the best given the push to reduce property taxes this legislative session. “And we sympathize with the property tax issue, but we also recognize if we’re unable to meet our goals through some sort of incentive programs like we’ve been doing, our only other option is additional regulation”, says Berge, “and that will be difficult on our local economy.”
Berge says between the loss of the levy authority and reductions in soil conservation funding, the local district has had to cut their budget 22%, and he says without a re-authorization officials are not sure how they will be able to meet the next set of goals for the integrated water management, basin-wide and Platte River recovery implementation plans.