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Nebraska's Natural Resource Districts and those involved in NCORPE.
Last month, the Lower Republican Natural Resources District board of directors approved a $1 per acre reduction in occupation tax for irrigators.Owners of irrigated farm land typically pay a $10 / acre occupation tax to pay for the “water farm” augmentation of the Republican River. The water farm is in southern Lincoln County.
There are four districts involved in the water project. the Lower Republican district is located, as the name suggests, on the lower reaches of the Republican River. Its board of directors lowered the tax rate per irrigated acre from $10 to $9.
The board agreed to the tax reduction on Aug. 10.
Faced with mounting criticism of the farm’s operation, including refusal to sell some of the 19,000 acres to reduce the size of the government project and generate property tax revenue for schools, cemeteries and fire departments, NCORPE General Manager Kyle Shepherd issued a press release Sept. 7 about the reduction.
NCORPE stands for Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project.
This summer, the NCORPE board re-issued most of the original construction bonds for the $120 million project. The new bonds have lower interest rates, so the Lower Republican board passed the savings back to irrigators.
“We work hard to run a fair and balanced budget,” said Mike Clements, general manager of the Lower Republican Natural Resources District. “This might not be a big deal to many people, but to Lower Republican NRD, it’s a huge win as we continue to seek out new ways to save money for our taxpayers where we can.”
The reduction amounts to about $130 per pivot-irrigated quarter section, Clements said.