North Platte City Council members will wrap up their work on the city’s 2023-24 budget with final votes at a special meeting Thursday evening.
The budget drew no public comments during a 15-minute hearing at Tuesday’s regular meeting, setting up Thursday’s votes.
Council members will reconvene at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall council chamber, 211 W. Third St., to adopt the $260.9 million spending plan, the city’s 2023-24 property tax rate and Municipal Light & Water utility rates for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
Groseth: Strong sales-tax growth enabled cut in North Platte’s 2023-24 tax request
The special meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel. For access, visit www.ci.north-platte.ne.us/government/city-council/agendas-minutes.
While total authorized 2023-24 spending for all funds would jump 41.3%, next year’s city property tax request would fall by $57,538 for its first decline in eight years.
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North Platte’s 2023-24 tax rate to support city government would drop by 8.6% to 40.1 cents per $100 of taxable value. The city’s total taxable value went up 8.6% to $1.89 billion.
The city’s property tax request mainly supports its general fund, which would rise by only 2.6% to $35.5 million and accounts for just 13.6% of the budget.
A 3.5% cost-of-living increase for all city employees is included in the budget, Finance Director Dawn Miller said at Tuesday’s hearing.
She added that two new funds — neither of them supported by property taxes — account for most of the total budget’s $76.3 million increase.
One fund contains $20 million appropriated by the Legislature for North Platte to add industrial wastewater treatment to its city wastewater plant in connection with the Sustainable Beef LLC plant being built next door.
The other fund will hold $52.3 million in bond proceeds for the expansion of the North Platte Recreation Complex, renovation of Cody Pool and relocation of the city’s skate park. Voters strongly approved a temporary half-cent sales tax increase last year to repay those bonds.
Self-supporting ML&W will receive a 21.5% spending boost over 2022-23, which Miller attributed to higher capital costs for the electric, water and wastewater departments. ML&W accounts for 30.2% of the total budget.
Councilman Ed Rieker, the only council member to speak during the 15-minute budget hearing, noted that he has long sought to reduce taxes during his five years in office. “It’s exciting to see this is actually happening,” he said.
In other business Tuesday, council members voted 8-0 to revoke a 2019 conditional use permit granted to Creative Landscapes of Nebraska to develop greenhouses, a nursery and a retail storefront at 2000 W. Eugene Ave.
The decision came just shy of four years after the council split 4-3 in favor of site owner Justin Warner’s request on Sept. 27, 2019. Then-Mayor Dwight Livingston cast the necessary fifth vote because a council member was absent.
Creative Landscapes earns approval from split North Platte City Council
Warner said at the time he had planned to build a personal home there but decided to develop his landscaping business on the site instead. His 5-acre lot lies outside city limits but within the city’s 2-mile zoning jurisdiction in an A-1 “transitional agriculture” zone.
Two of Warner’s immediate neighbors sharply objected, including Michael Cook, who lives just to the east at 1906 W. Eugene Ave. Cook was present at Tuesday’s meeting but did not speak.
Among other complaints, Cook said at the September 2019 council meeting that the would-be landscaping site wasn’t being properly maintained.
Planning Administrator Judy Clark made similar comments Tuesday. She told council members that Warner had received a permit for a 6-foot-tall privacy fence — a condition of his conditional use permit — but had only partly finished it.
Neighbors have continued to complain about the site’s condition, Clark said. “It’s mainly used to store materials, and it’s unsightly.”
Conditional use permits generally expire after two years if little to nothing has been done to get the associated project finished and operating, she said.
Clark nonetheless recommended that the council formally vote to revoke Warner’s permit for the landscaping business.
- Final votes on a pair of ordinances sharply raising occupation taxes on “games of skill” with “betting capability” were pulled from the agenda. Mayor Brandon Kelliher said final tweaks needed to be made to both ordinances.
- The council approved a $91,287 purchase agreement with Bill Summers Ford for two new Water Department service trucks as part of a five-item consent agenda.