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2010 Property Tax Per Capita Comparison
Nebraska's Best and Worst Cities for Property Tax Collections
by Berk Brown, Platte Institute

Last week we continued the discussion on Nebraska's excessive property tax burden when compared to the value of our homes. From this perspective, Nebraskans have the third-highest burden in the nation.

In Nebraska, property taxes are collected at the local level. As a result, local government entities control exactly how much taxpayers pay for the privilege of owning their own homes.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors."  Yet, a quick glance at how much cities in Nebraska collect in property taxes from their residents clearly shows that some communities feel like their residents should pay much more for that safety and happiness than other communities do.

The following data is reflective of only the property taxes collected by the city government. Total property tax bills in each community also include other taxing authorities, but for this collection of data, only the money which goes directly to the city was used. We took a look at all 54 Nebraska cities with populations of at least 2,000 to determine which cities require the least contributions from tax payers to provide services and which are getting the most in revenue from their citizens on a per-capita basis.

According to the rankings, if you truly want to experience Nebraska's "Good Life," in the form of less property taxes on a per-capita basis, then you need to live in the central or northeast portion of the state.

Below is a complete ranking of all 54 cities in Nebraska with a population of 2,000 or greater of the property tax rate per capita:

 City 2009 Population  2009 Taxes Levied  Per Capita 
 York 7,638  $504,978.87  $66 
 Kearney 30,744  $2,517,215.75  $81 
 Lexington 10,275  $973,336.25  $94 
 Madison 2,208  $216,814.84  $98 
 Norfolk 23,272  $2,320,050.06  $99 
 Scottsbluff 14,886  $1,586,152.70  $106 
 Schuyler 5,339  $575,893.09  $107 
 Chadron 5,437  $670,494.12      $123 
 McCook 7,410  $940,007.81  $126 
 Geneva 2,030  $261,262.82  $128 
 Wayne 5,346  $720,379.26  $134 
 Falls City 3,933  $533,074.21  $135 
 Grand Island 46,861  $6,410,721.85  $136 
 Gothenburg 3,703  $510,984.35  $137 
 Gering 7,738  $1,087,788.97  $140 
 Beatrice 12,564  $1,816,971,63  $144 
 Alliance 8,002  $1,207,955,95  $150 
 Cozad 4,296  $655,819.22  $152 
 Central City 2,813  $438,353.09  $155 
 Auburn 3,230  $518,957.06  $160 
 Columbus 21,914  $3,706,514,48  $169 
 Valentine 2,534      $430,792,80      $170 
 Holdrege 5,121  $878,102.77  $171 
 South Sioux City 12,213  $2,136,637.79  $174 
 Fremont 25,007  $4,531,264.89  $181 
 Gretna 6,736  $1,263,572.24  $187 
 Nebraska City 6,869  $1,295,002.31  $188 
 Plattsmouth 6,867  $1,303,315.77  $189 
 Seward 6,742  $1,280,399.50  $189 
 Lincoln 254,001  $48,380,959.07  $190 
 Hastings 25,370  $4,973,667.22      $196 
 Kimball 2,222  $442,486.20  $199 
 Ogallala 4,391  $887,076.00  $202 
 Fairbury 3,663      $754,466.15  $205 
 Crete 6,290  $1,315,950.47  $209 
 David City 2,504  $524,756.91  $209 
 Blair 7,700  $1,632,843.77      $212 
 Papillion 24,280  $5,277,373.15  $217 
 Broken Bow 3,139  $695,518.40      $221 
 O'Neill 3,249  $750,078.38  $230 
 West Point 3,290  $780,310.34  $237 
 Sidney 6,331  $1,565,841.27  $247 
 Milford 2,052  $525,200.87  $255 
 Aurora 4,196  $1,103,988.47  $263 
 North Platte 24,137  $6,594,873.79  $273 
 Minden 2,788  $774,518.82  $277 
 Waverly 3,302  $920,852.91  $278 
 Omaha 454,731  $129,127,747.40  $283 
 Ashland 2,656  $758,653,65  $285 
 Bellevue 51,044  $14,946.292.04  $292 
 Wahoo 4,167  $1,261,788.42  $302 
 Ralston 6,124  $1,882,872.56  $307 
 La Vista 16,887  $5,334,152.43  $315 
 St. Paul 2,133  $690,108.59  $323 


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