Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First


Nearly $1.2 Million Needs To Be Cut To Retain Mill Levy

Kimball County Commissioners, along with County Clerk Cathy Sibal and County Budget Officer Josi Morgan, began last week working, reviewing and cutting the budget for the 2022-23 year. Early in the week, it was determined that just under $1.2 million was the amount needed to cut in order to retain the same mill levy, which was the ultimate goal, according to officials.

As of Monday evening this week, nothing has been finalized, but thousands of dollars have been cut from the budget.

Officials said they have gone through line by line and department by department in order to cut. Cuts for the road department include a pickup, a mower and many small items.

Items that have increased the budget for the 2022-23 year include a hike of $100,000 or 17% for Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance, a BYTES contract for cyber security, a Zelle Human Resource contract, increases in fuel prices and wages, two new motor graders which have been ordered, and two new sheriff vehicles also on order.

In addition, the Jail Standards Board recommended that two individuals be on the desk, someone for the jail and someone for communications. This is for the safety of the staff, inmates, and citizens of the county. This recommendation would double the dispatch/jail budget.

Some expenses cannot be cut, such as yearly loan payments, which include $42,561.48 for a 2018 Cat 120 Grader, a 2020 John Deere Grader at $37,710.35, and a 2015 John Deere bulldozer's yearly payment of $30,492.12. Two sheriff's vehicles, a 2019 model and 2022 model, have yearly payments of $11,895.40 and $13,146.30, respectively. The county continues to pay off a 2019 Transit van with the yearly payment of $38,061.52. Other office equipment, sheriff radio equipment, 911 equipment, and a postage meter require annual payments of over $35,000.

Like many counties in Nebraska, Kimball County incurred what is known as “growth” – which means new structures. According to the actual valuations for Kimball County governmental subdivision for the year 2022, Kimball County had a growth of $5,770,830.

In May, the Observer interviewed Nebraska Property Tax Administrator Ruth Sorenson. She explained that Nebraska had a hefty increase in assessed values of residential properties across the state.

Assessment action of residential property in Kimball County included a rise of 11% for all building/improvements in Kimball and 15% for Dix residential homes, building, and garages. On the other hand, the assessed value of commercial buildings in Kimball decreased by 4%.

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