Economic Boom: The Real Benefit of the Elimination of Common Levy

by | Aug 19, 2016 | Blog

This year the Nebraska Legislature ended the controversial common levy of the Learning Community. For several years, the school districts of Sarpy and Douglas Counties essentially shared $0.95 of a total $1.05 of tax levy. Many school districts cried foul and felt they were paying for other school districts while struggling with their own budgeting issues.

An underlying matter with the common levy was that school boundaries were frozen. Prior to the common levy, boundaries would change with the growth of a community. School boundaries, unfortunately, were created for the most part, in 1910. Over time, the boundaries diverged from how the communities were growing.

As part of the compromise to end the levy, the school districts of Bellevue, Platteview and Papillion-LaVista entered into a land agreement which would essentially allow growth near the city of Bellevue that is within the Platteview school district to transfer to the Bellevue school districts. It would also allow growth near the city of Papillion that is within Platteview school district to transfer to the Papillion-LaVista school district. The concept is cohesiveness within the communities – to have the city and schools connected. This makes perfectly good sense for a community, but what makes better sense is for the economic boom it creates.

During the “Frozen Period,” most of the growth area for the city of Bellevue was in the southwest which was nearly all within the Platteview school district. As a consequence, very little housing was being constructed in that area. Not that Platteview is not an excellent school district, but there was a community disconnect and the closest grade school was nine miles away. As a consequence, land values dropped drastically and land sales nearly came to a standstill.

The metro area is in a population boom with very little area to grow except in Sarpy County. With the boundary issues being resolved, large areas of the county are now opened up to development. Land prices within the areas that will be transferred to the other school districts will see dramatic increases in prices with development soon to follow.

There has been pent-up demand for housing in Sarpy County after a nearly eight-year recession. That pent-up demand is not being met due to lack of area in Sarpy County to build while still providing the full community experience. With the agreement to move boundaries, vast areas have opened up for development, developers are ready to go and buyers are eagerly waiting. Plan to see one of the largest economic booms this area has ever seen. And, more importantly, position yourself and your business to take advantage of it.

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