Total property valuation for the area served by Western Nebraska Community College has only increased one half of one percent, underscoring the difficulties not only the college but other local governments in the panhandle are having balancing budgets.
The lack of growth shows the panhandle, plus part of Cherry County and Grant County in the college’s case, is struggling right now due to low commodity prices for agriculture and the lack of any other industry to make up the loss. Four counties actually lost overall valuation, led by Cheyenne County with a 6.7% decline mostly attributable to the loss of Cabela’s.
Most of the other counties saw minimal hikes, with three of them less than 1%. The largest percentage hikes came from Box Butte County at 4.5%, a $64 million increase, and Sheridan County at 4% and a $42 million jump.