Gage County approves tax hike to pay off Beatrice Six

Posted By: Bayley Bischof 

Gage County voted to raise taxes to pay off a hefty fine that stems from a murder case in 1985.

Six people were wrongly convicted in the case, and spent a combined 75 years in prison until found innocent.

A judged awarded them, now known as the Beatrice Six, $28.1 million after the six spent a combined 75 years in prison before being found innocent.

The Gage County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to approve a tax raised that’d have property owners footing the bill.

"In our budget meeting today we approved an addition 11.7 cents of levy which brings the total county levy to 50 cents,” Myron Dorn, board member said.

Dorn said it will end up being a roughly 6-8% increase. For example, say you have property worth $100,000, you’d pay an extra $120 a year.

Gage County residents, especially farmers aren’t happy.

"To have that fall primarily on the farmers that are left in Gage county is a hardship that may drive some to bankruptcy,” Gregory Lauby, Beatrice Resident said. “And unfairly so as they didn’t have anything to do with the wrongdoings done by county employees."

Dorn agrees that the farmers are facing the brunt of the tax, and it’s not ideal.

"This seems like this is a greater burden on those people then what should be put,” Dorn said. “But that is today the only avenue that is available to the county to pay on this judgment."

Some residents said the responsibility should fall on the state because it was their judge that convicted and sentenced the six.

"We all need to show up at The Capitol and persuade the state to help us with this,” a speaker at the public hearing said.

Dorn said it would take legislation to make that happen, something that is being discussed.

The levy would pay off the Beatrice Six in about eight years.

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