Gage County looking to raise taxes to pay $28.1M jury award
BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) – Gage County officials have announced plans to raise taxes to help pay off a $28.1 million jury verdict for the wrongful convictions of six people for a 1985 murder.
The move was announced Wednesday during a county board meeting. The plan is to raise the tax levy to the maximum allowable 50 cents next year should the county be required to pay the award.
In July, a federal appeals court affirmed the jury award. County officials still hope the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn it.
The case involves six people who were wrongfully convicted in the 1985 rape and murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson in Beatrice. The six spent more than 75 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008.
If the levy is raised to the maximum rate, it would generate an additional $3.8 million annually. The county currently collects about $8 million a year in taxes.