No Tax Levy Increase in Papio NRD’s Approved Proposed Budget

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/11/17

Contact: John Winkler, General Manager
Office Phone 444-6222
Cell Phone 402-616-2457 

 

Papio-Missouri River NRD Board Approves Proposed 2018 Budget
No Increase in Tax Levy

Omaha, NE: At its August 10th meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors heard public comments and then voted to propose a Fiscal Year 2018 general operating budget that will, once again, require no increase in the NRD property tax levy.

“The District’s property tax levy will remain the same as last year,” said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. “This is 12 out of 13 years the District has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same. We work extremely hard to leverage federal and state cost sharing on projects to save local taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Winkler.

In addition, Winkler said the FY 2018 proposed budget is $1.5 million less than last year and the District is able to maintain a responsible budget and healthy financial position despite increases in costs like permitting, insurance, wages, materials and land costs.

The proposed budget calls for a FY 2018 property tax levy of .038034 per $100 of assessed valuation. This means that a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $38.03 in property taxes next year to support NRD projects.The budget calls for an estimated $23 million in revenue from the NRD’s property tax levy. Total spending is estimated at just under $69 million.

The Papio-Missouri River NRD’s property tax levy amounts to less than two percent of the total property tax bill for residents living within the District’s six-county area.The levy is based on an estimated 3.5 percent increase in valuations across the district, which includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties.

The NRD Board of Directors will hold a public hearing, approve a final budget and set the tax levy at its September 14th board meeting in Dakota City.

 

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Free Scrap Tire Collection on Friday

Free scrap tire collection! The Papio Missouri River NRD, Nebraska Loess Hills RC&D Council and Lower Elkhorn NRD will have a free scrap tire collection on Friday, August 11, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon) at the Washington  County Fairgrounds in Arlington, NE. The fairgrounds are located on the western edge of Arlington, on the north side of Hwy 30 between Blair and Fremont.

This collection will accept all sizes of car, truck, semi and tractor tires. Each load is limited to 100 tires. No rims will be accepted so ALL tires must be off rim.  Tires cannot be accepted from any business which charges a tire disposal fee.  Do not leave vehicles unattended in line. Limited unloading help will be available, so plan to unload your own. The collection ends at noon, and the gates will be locked at that time, so be sure to arrive before 12:00 p.m. (noon).

 

The 10 county collection area includes Burt, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Stanton, Thurston and Washington counties.  Residents and businesses which do not charge tire disposal fees can dispose of tires at this collection.  Loads must enter through the east fairground entrance. Loads with less than 20 tires are encouraged to arrive during the last 90 minutes of the collection because this usually results in a shorter wait time for these smaller loads.

 

Champlin Tire Recycling will process the tires collected during the event.  This processing includes repair and retread of salvageable casings, reclamation of tires meeting used tire specifications and the production of park benches, picnic tables and feed bunks. Funding for this free collection is provided through a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. For more information please contact Deborah Ward at the Papio Missouri River NRD (402) 374-1920 ex. 3.

 

 

NRD Earns Second Highest Bond Rating

The Papio-Missouri River NRD has been notified that the district received an excellent bond rating that will save tax dollars as the district refinances Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement bonds. S&P Global Ratings has assigned the NRD a AA- bond rating, the second highest possible. “This is great news for our local taxpayers,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “The rating reflects the NRD’s credit worthiness exemplified by its strong financial position, diverse and growing tax base and positive fiscal management,” he said.

The bonded funding is being used to construct flood control projects and water quality improvements in the district.

At their April, 2017 board meeting, the NRD Board of Directors took action to refinance Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds that may ultimately save NRD-area property taxpayers millions of dollars.

The NRD issued $58,200,000 of Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds over two bond offerings in 2013. Interest rates have declined to a point where refinancing a portion of the outstanding bonds may achieve interest cost savings over the remaining life of the bonds.

“The Nebraska Legislature entrusted the NRD with the opportunity to fund projects using bonding authority and we always seek ways to be good stewards of this authority,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “We believe we can save taxpayers one to two million dollars through this refinancing effort.”

The Board of Directors approved parameters for the refinancing of the bonds and directed the General Manager to explore the best course of action.

In 2015, the district refinanced bonds issued in 2010 and achieved approximately $460,000 of interest cost savings.

The district includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portion of Burt and Thurston Counties.

 

NRD Bond Refinancing to Potentially Save $Millions

At their April, 2017 board meeting, the NRD Board of Directors took action to refinance Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds that may ultimately save NRD-area property taxpayers millions of dollars.

The NRD issued $58,200,000 of Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds over two bond offerings in 2013. Interest rates have declined to a point where refinancing a portion of the outstanding bonds may achieve interest cost savings over the remaining life of the bonds. The bonded funding is being used to construct flood control projects and water quality improvements in the district.

“The Nebraska Legislature entrusted the NRD with the opportunity to fund projects using bonding authority and we always seek ways to be good stewards of this authority,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “We believe we can save taxpayers one to two million dollars through this refinancing effort.”

The Board of Directors approved parameters for the refinancing of the bonds and directed the General Manager to explore the best course of action.

In 2015, the district refinanced bonds issued in 2010 and achieved approximately $460,000 of interest cost savings.

The district includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portion of Burt and Thurston Counties.

 

West Papio Trail 108th Giles to Millard Update

The Papio-Missouri River NRD is partnering with the cities of Omaha and La Vista to extend the West Papio Trail. The project will start at the Giles Road bridge just west of 108th Street, following a former railroad line over Hell Creek, under Harrison Street and Interstate 80, along Harry Andersen Ave, and connecting to the south side of Q Street. This photo shows the existing Hell Creek bridge constructed around 1905. Stabilization work was completed on the slab below the bridge, and a new deck will be constructed on top for the trail surface. Full designs for the trail will be complete in summer 2017, with construction planned for spring and summer of 2018.

A public information meeting was held on March 14, 2017. Around 35 members of the community attended to learn more about the project, ask questions, and to show appreciate for past and future projects to improve the trail system throughout the metro area.

More information on our Trails Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Preliminary Groundwater Plan Approved

At their March 9 Board of Directors meeting the board approved a preliminary draft Groundwater Management Plan for the six-county NRD area including Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portions of Burt and Thurston Counties in Nebraska.

The plan was last updated by the Papio-Missouri River NRD in 1994. Since 1994, a significant amount of hydrogeologic information has been gathered on the distribution of groundwater aquifers across the district. Furthermore, with over 30 years of groundwater monitoring data, information on specific areas within the district with water quantity and quality issues have been identified.      “Over 750,000 people live in the Papio-Missouri River NRD area and many rely on clean groundwater as their drinking water supply, and for irrigation as well as businesses across the district rely on groundwater for various industrial uses,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager.

The NRD hosted a series of stakeholder committee meetings across the six-county area. These volunteer stakeholder committees represented groundwater users in the NRD and the meetings were also attended by County, State, and Federal agencies who provided technical assistance and advice. The role of Stakeholder groups was to convey local groundwater concerns, help define groundwater life goals and management objectives, help identify appropriate resources management actions, and serve as educators/advocates for groundwater in their communities.

Since the completion of stakeholder committee meetings last November, a preliminary draft update to the NRD’s GMP has been completed. This document is intended to entirely replace the existing 1994 plan. This draft plan will now be submitted to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) for their statutory 90-day review period. NDNR will also solicit other state agency comments. Following NDNR’s review and comment, a draft GMP will be the subject of a public hearing to be held prior to final approval of the plan by the Papio-Missouri River NRD Board of Directors.

Winkler noted that “we are blessed with an abundant supply of good groundwater in most areas of the district and the goal of the plan is to sustain the quantity and quality of the groundwater we have.”

See the Draft Plan here

Board Approves Contract for Southern Sarpy County Watershed Study

A contract for an engineering study to develop policies related to storm water management in the southern Sarpy County area has been approved by the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors.

“Now is the time to act to insure that both water quality and potential flooding issues are being addressed before extensive development occurs,” said NRD General Manager, John Winkler.  “We can avoid many of the difficulties we encountered in the Papillion Creek Watershed – trying to manage storm water runoff in an area already significantly urbanized,” he said.

In October, 2016 the board approved an interlocal agreement with Bellevue, Gretna, Papillion, Springfield and Sarpy County to form the Southern Sarpy Watershed Partnership to address water issues before the area is developed. The watershed includes all areas of Sarpy County draining directly toward the Elkhorn or Platte Rivers.

The work will take place in three phases over a five year period. The Board approved a phase one contract with FYRA Engineering for $400,640. The cost of the study will be shared among the members of the Southern Sarpy Watershed Partnership.

Unlike the Papillion Creek Watershed, the Southern Sarpy County Watershed has very little stream or water quality data available. The need to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan is the top priority of the new partnership.

Two Omaha metro area reservoir projects receive funding through NE Water Sustainability Fund

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District will receive $6.7 million from the NE Water Sustainability Fund managed by the NE Natural Resources Commission. The commission approved the funding at their December meeting for Papillion Creek Watershed flood prevention reservoir sites West Papio 6 and West Papio 7 in Sarpy County.

 

“We are extremely grateful to the commission for this funding. They had many worthy projects to consider and their support for the Omaha area’s flood prevention needs is appreciated,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “These two projects have a rate of return to the taxpayers of 2.31 to 1; so for every dollar spent the taxpayer will receive two dollars and thirty one cents in return on that investment,” he said.

 

The NE Water Sustainability Fund was created by the NE Legislature to boost state financial involvement in a variety of projects to facilitate Nebraska’s critical water management needs.

“First and foremost, the District will now be able to accelerate the construction of these two reservoirs (WP 6 & WP 7) and we will be able to dedicate additional resources to the preliminary design of five additional priority flood prevention reservoirs which are currently under extreme pressure from development interests,” said Winkler. “Our current floodway mapping study is showing that every reservoir constructed has a net positive improvement in the floodplain going from now into the future,” he said.

 

The district will use the $6.7 million to complete land rights acquisition and construction for the two reservoir sites. “This Water Sustainability Fund financial assistance will further reduce pressure on property taxes,” said Winkler.

 

Dam Site WP-6 will be built on the west side of 114th Street, north of Cornhusker Rd. The site will be managed for recreation by the City of Papillion. The lake created by WP-6 will be approximately 34 acres of water surrounded by an additional 69 acres of public parkland.

 

WP-7 will be built on the east side of 108th Street, south of Cornhusker Road. This project will also be managed for recreation by the City of Papillion. The lake created by WP-7 will be approximately 13 acres of water surrounded by an additional 32 acres of public parkland.      Both reservoirs will enhance flood protection for property and public infrastructure downstream along the West Papio Creek, adding flood protection to residents of the Cities of Papillion and Bellevue.       The projects are in cooperation with the Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership consisting of the NRD, Sarpy County and the Cities of Omaha, Papillion, Bellevue, LaVista, Gretna, Ralston, and Boys Town. The Partnership seeks workable solutions to address flood prevention along with stream and lake water quality that will enhance the quality of life for metro area’s residents.

See this web page for more information

 

Gizzard shad targeted for removal from Wehrspann Lake

The chemical rotenone has been applied at Wehrspann Lake by the NE Game and Parks Commission in order to remove gizzard shad. Wehrspann is managed by the Papio-Missouri River NRD and the district relies on the NE Game and Parks Commission to manage the fishery.

Gizzard shad are susceptible to a low dose of rotenone while fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and crappie are less affected. Low dosages of rotenone are done at low water temperatures to increase its effectiveness on shad and lower impacts on nontarget species.

“Gizzard shad are targeted for removal because they are a detrimental species in small reservoirs such as Wehrspann,” said Daryl Bauer, fisheries outreach program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “With their high reproductive capability, gizzard shad compete for the same food used by young sport fish such as bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass. The presence of gizzard shad in a small reservoir often results in reduced natural recruitment, growth and body conditions of sport fish.”

Rotenone, derived from the roots of plants that grow in South America, inhibits the uptake of oxygen at the cellular level. It only affects gill-breathing organisms.

Next spring, additional 4-inch largemouth bass will be stocked in Wehrspann.

“Those small bass should have good survival once the gizzard shad have been removed, and they will provide extra predation on any remaining shad,” Bauer said. “Anglers can expect to have good fishing at Wehrspann next spring. We have had very positive results on other waters where it has been done and we expect a great future for the Wehrspann fishery,”

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