ALMA — There is no change in property taxes needed to fund the Lower Republican Natural Resources District’s budget for fiscal year 2019-20.

The budget and tax levy were approved at Thursday’s LRNRD Board meeting in Alma, following a public hearing. General Manager Todd Siel said the budget is similar to FY2018-19 and the $1,349,340 in property taxes are the same.

The levy increased slightly, from 3.31 cents per $100 valuation to 3.34 cents because of lower property values. Siel said the overall valuation in the LRNRD — all of Furnas, Harlan and Franklin counties, and parts of Webster and Nuckolls counties — is slightly below $4 billion compared with slightly above $4 billion last year.

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Occupation taxes paid on irrigated acres are the other big part of budget revenues. At its August meeting, the LRNRD board set the rate at $8 per irrigated acre for a second year. The rate started at $10 per acre, was dropped to $9 two years ago and then reduced to $8.

Those funds are earmarked for projects that save water or augment river flows to meet LRNRD responsibilities for Republican River Compact compliance.

In other business Thursday, Siel said he told the board a water conservation incentive program involving the Upper, Middle and Lower Republican NRDs and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has been extended.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program helps fund projects such as installing soil moisture sensors, converting gravity irrigation systems to subsurface drip, and permanently retiring pivot system end guns.

Siel said ag producers can get details from local NRCS offices.

A year-to-year comparison of Harlan County Lake’s water volume and elevation also was part of a written report to the board by Siel and Assistant General Manager Scott Dicke.

On Sept. 9, the 454,958 acre-feet in storage compared with 224,247 a-f a year earlier and the 1955.27 elevation compared with 1938.39.

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