Pink postcards signal property tax hearing


Property owners should see pink postcards popping up in their mailboxes this week.

The postcards are to notify residents of a joint public tax hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Seward Civic Center, at which four local taxing entities will present their proposed budgets for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

The Civic Center is at 616 Bradford Street in Seward, and the hearing will be held in the auditorium.

Seward County, Milford Public Schools, the City of Seward and the City of Milford are all required to present their proposed budgets at the hearing.

The Nebraska Legislature first enacted the requirement last year through LB 644, the Property Tax Request Act (passed in 2021), intended to increase transparency for political subdivisions looking to raise their property tax levies.

The act requires a colored postcard be mailed to all property owners in an area where a taxing entity intends to raise its levy more than its 2% allowable growth over the previous year.

Southeast Community College and the public school districts of Crete, David City and East Butler also will be required to share their proposed budgets at a joint public meeting.

Those districts overlap with portions of Seward County, but they will present their budgets in Lancaster, Saline and Butler counties, respectively, where their districts are headquartered.

Seward and Centennial Public Schools, as well as others that overlap with Seward County, will not have to participate in the meeting as their tax askings do not meet the 2% threshold.

As required by law, each postcard will include details specific to each parcel of a property owner’s land, including its assessed valuation and how the levy increase from each entity will affect the property owner’s tax obligation.

The joint hearing is a chance for the public to ask questions of each entity, though each is already required by law to hold its own budget and tax request hearings individually.