Joint hearing for property tax request increases approved

Certain political subdivisions must hold a joint public hearing before increasing their property tax requests under a bill passed by lawmakers May 19.

Sen. Ben Hansen
Sen. Ben Hansen

Under LB644, introduced by Sen. Ben Hansen of Blair, counties, cities, school districts and community colleges must participate in a joint public hearing and pass a resolution or ordinance before increasing their property tax request by more than an allowable growth percentage.

The bill requires counties to notify affected taxpayers of the hearing by postcard, the cost of which will be shared by the political subdivisions seeking to increase their property tax request.

The hearing, which must be held on or after Sept. 17 and before Sept. 29, must be open to public testimony. Its agenda may include only the proposed property tax request increase.

LB644 also includes provisions of LB189, introduced by Hastings Sen. Steve Halloran, that require a political subdivision’s governing body to make provisions in its next budget to pay a refund of real or personal property taxes. The measure also repeals a provision allowing political subdivisions up to five years to pay the refund.

Under the bill, interest on refunds accrues at a rate of 9 percent on the unpaid balance beginning 30 days after the date when the county assessor certifies the amount of the refund based upon the final non-appealable order or other action approving the refund.

LB644 passed on a vote of 42-0.

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