NRD to discuss potential tax levy

Monday, July 9, 2007

Middle Republican Natural Resources members will discuss how much they will levy in property and occupation taxes for residents in Red Willow, Hitchcock, Frontier and Hayes counties, at their regular meeting Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at McCook Community College, Room 213 in McMillen Hall.

This will be discussion only with no action taken; formal voting action will take place probably at the August meeting, said Dan Smith, MRNRD general manager.

The MRNRD is proposing 5.92 cents in property tax and 6.40 in occupation tax, Smith said. "These are preliminary numbers and are subject to change. We won't know for sure until the bonding company gets everything put together," he said.

As authorized by LB701, passed by the Legislature this year, the money collected by the NRDs in the Republican River Basin from the taxes will pay for surface water rights. The water will then be sent to Kansas in an effort to meet water allotments set forth in the compact with Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

The three NRDs in the Republican River Basin agreed in June to purchase surface water from three irrigation districts for $8.6 million.

The property tax component of the bond is necessary because the NRDs has no history with the occupation tax and would not be able to get a good rating without the property tax ability, Smith added. Future bonds would probably not have the property tax component because the NRDs would have established a history of collection with this bond. The proposed rates are based on the amount of the bond and the percentage assigned to each district, with the Upper at 44 percent, the Middle at 30 percent and the Lower at 26 percent.

Other agenda items include a report on the Republican River Planning Group meeting June 22, attended by the NRDs and Ann Bleed of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

The meeting considered proposed pumping reductions needed to stay within the Nebraska Compact allocation.

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