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Sarpy County continues to grow, looks to build infrastructure

Posted at 6:42 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 22:37:07-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — When the census was released this month, Sarpy County was growing faster than any county in Nebraska, up 19% in a 10-year span.

As the county plans and budgets for future growth, they have plenty of money to spend on infrastructure to support it.

Sarpy County residents' property tax rate will likely be staying the same, but residents' tax bills might be up slightly, as the valuations continue to increase.

The county plans to use that extra money, and cash from the feds, to build the infrastructure to support all the future residents that live in the county.

This comes as the county held a public hearing on their 2022 budget on Tuesday.

“This budget today for Sarpy County is an unprecedented record budget for us,” said Sarpy County chief financial officer Bill Conley.

The unique budget totals at over $241 million, with revenues up $58 million, around a 32% increase.

That money will help the county build out its future growth.

“We’re setting the table for the county and build it, they will come. That’s really what’s happening,” said Conley.

The money partially comes from property re-appraisals and growth in the county.

But the biggest chunk stems from over $36 million from the federal government that came to Sarpy County from the American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress in March.

Half of that is going to pay off the new jail currently under construction, which allows them to save millions of dollars on the project.

“Because of the strong cash position, borrowing less on the correctional center project than we anticipated, this is going to benefit the taxpayers for decades to come,” said Conley.

The other $18 million from the feds is an open question, with the county using a task force to spend the restrictive funds, possibly on more infrastructure like roads or buildings.

“But we got some great ideas and we’re batting them around,” said chair of the board, Don Kelly.

The county already has a variety of large-scale projects underway, including major road construction in western Sarpy and Platteview Road, the new jail, as well as a sewer system, to allow for large-scale growth in the Springfield area.

“These are once in a generation kind of projects, but they’re going to increase the quality of life for all the residents of Sarpy County,” said Kelly.

Conley floated out a possible future property tax decrease due to all the incoming extra revenue.

Kelly is keeping his options open.

“If it’s possible we’d love to do that and it may be possible,” said Kelly.

Now while Sarpy County is getting millions in additional money every year, they’re planning on spending a lot more annually on their jail, once built, on extra staff as well as mental health services.

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