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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Dawson County

Dawson County Seat (pop.): Lexington (10,348)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Cozad (3,988), Eddyville (88), Farnam (182), Gothenburg (3,478), Overton (607), Sumner (252), Willow Island (25)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

700 North Washington
Lexington, Nebraska 68850
1st Floor:  M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
2nd & 3rd Floor:  8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Rod Reynolds

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st and 15th of the month

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Central

District President: Royce Gonzales, Nuckolls County Clerk of the District Court

District Vice President: Carrie Miller, Nuckolls County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Election Commissioner 

District Secretary/Treasurer: Kali Bolli, Garfield County Assessor

NACO Board Representatives: Diana Hurlburt, Garfield County Commissioner

Click for a live look at Dawson County (south of Overton)


Population: 23,898
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,013.60
Population per square mile: 23.8


White: 87.1%
African American: 7.5%
American Indian: 2.3%
Asian: 1.3%
Hispanic: 34.6%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.5%


18-64: 55.5%
65+: 17.1%


Personal income per capita: $49,653
% of Population in Poverty: 8.6%
# of Housing Units: 9,873
Owner-occupied rate: 65.3%
Median home price: $134,300


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 85.8%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 2.1% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 79.1%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 16.7%

School Districts: Chadron Public Schools, Crawford Public Schools, Hay Springs Public Schools, Hemingford Public Schools, Sioux County Public Schools

Countywide child care capacity: 38 providers; 944 children

Find child care: For a list of child care providers in your zip code, visit Nebraska DHHS or the Nebraska Resource and Referral System.

Dawson County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $1,502,329,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 297

Ag. Producers (Crop): 347

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: CHS, Country Partners Cooperative

Local Grain Market: Click for today's grain prices in Dawson County

Electricity Providers: City of Gothenburg, City of Lexington, Cozad Board of Public Works, Custer PPD, Dawson PPD, Southern PPD

Rail-served Communities: Cozad, Farnam, Gothenburg, Lexington, Willow Island

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIO, Nebraska Power Review Board, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuation

County levy rate: $0.3318 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $11,620,890

Total local government property taxes levied: $59,582,808

Total countywide taxable valuation: $3,502,352,623

Click here for all levy rates in Dawes County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits listed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

Local tax reductions, exemptions, and credits:

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-902(5)(a) (Deed "stamp tax" exemption): "The [stamp tax] shall not apply to: ... (5)(a) Deeds between spouses, between ex-spouses for the purpose of conveying any rights to property acquired or held during the marriage, or between parent and child, without actual consideration therefor."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-201(2) (Valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land): "Agricultural land and horticultural land as defined in section 77-1359 shall constitute a separate and distinct class of property for purposes of property taxation, shall be subject to taxation, unless expressly exempt from taxation, and shall be valued at seventy-five percent of its actual value, except that for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds that are approved by a vote of the people on or after January 1, 2022, such land shall be valued at fifty percent of its actual value."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-6703(1) (Tax credit for school district taxes paid): "(1) For taxable years beginning or deemed to begin on or after January 1, 2020, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, there shall be allowed to each eligible taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 or against the franchise tax imposed by sections 77-3801 to 77-3807. The credit shall be equal to the credit percentage for the taxable year, as set by the department under subsection (2) of this section, multiplied by the amount of school district taxes paid by the eligible taxpayer during such taxable year."

Sources: Nebraska Department of Revenue

State Senator: Teresa J. Ibach (District 44)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Judiciary, Nebraska Retirement Systems, Rules, Building Maintenance, Legislature's Planning Committee

Map and statistics for Legislative District 44

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Dawson County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 10

Year Founded: 1866

Etymology: Jacob Dawson (City of Lincoln's first postmaster)

Dawson County created quite a bit of excitement in 1873, not only in Nebraska but also across the country. It was reported that year that gold had been discovered about 1½ miles east of the settlement of Plum Creek. As word spread, gold seekers flocked to the area in search of their fortunes. The pieces of metal that had been dug up were later determined not to be gold and those that came to the area in hopes of find great wealth went away empty handed.

The county's original boundaries were established by the Territorial Legislature in 1860. A proclamation signed by acting Gov. William James in 1871 officially organized the county. It was named in honor of Jacob Dawson, who was the first postmaster in the settlement of Lancaster, the forerunner to the state's capital city.

Ten years before the county was organized, a telegraph line was located through the area. Small settlements and ranches quickly sprang up every few miles along the line. The most significant of these early settlements was called Plum Creek, on the Overland Trail along the south bank of the Platte River. As a telegraph and stage coach station, Plum Creek became an important stopping point between Fort Kearny and Fort McPherson. Within a short time the Union Pacific Railroad passed through the area.

Plum Creek was the primary settlement of the county. A post office, school and churches were built in the early 1870s. The most important construction project, however, may have been a bridge built across the Platte River. Since the only other bridge across the river was located about 150 miles to the east, the Plum Creek bridge further opened the area to settlers.

Plum Creek continued to grow and in 1886 it was incorporated. Three years later the residents held a town meeting and decided to rename the community in honor of a famous battle that occurred during the Civil War. From that point on, the county seat of Dawson County would be known as Lexington.

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License Plate Number: 18

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 1,245

Voter Turnout (2022): 42.46%

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: South Central

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 152

Number of County-Owned Dams: 15

State Lands (acres): Bittern's Call WMA (78.93), Blue Heron WMA (60.80), Cozad Rest Area EB (7.9), Cozad Rest Area WB (5.6), Cozad WMA (198.41), Darr WMA (30.87), Darr Strip WMA (980.82), Dogwood WMA (407.32), East Gothenburg WMA (37.62), East Willow WMA (36.80), Gallagher Canyon SRA (23.86), Plum Creek WMA (2), West Cozad WMA (47.63), Willow Island WMA (75.38)

Sources: Nebraska Department of Transportation, Nebraska Emergency Management AgencyNebraska Game & Parks CommissionNebraska LegislatureNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Secretary of StateU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (eCFR)