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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Howard County

Howard County Seat (pop.): St. Paul (2,416)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Boelus (181), Cotesfield (29), Cushing (37), Dannebrog (273), Elba (192), Farwell (138), St. Libory (241)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

612 Indian Street
St. Paul, Nebraska 68873
M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Kathy Hirschman

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday

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


Population: 6,531
Land area (sq. mi.): 569.34
Population per square mile: 11.4


White: 94.3%
African American: 0.7%
American Indian: 0.7%
Asian: 0.8%
Hispanic: 3.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%


0-17: 24.5%
18-64: 54.0%
65+: 21.5%


Personal income per capita: $55,957
% of Population in Poverty: 8.8%
# of Housing Units: 13,882
Owner-occupied rate: 73.5%
Median home price: $183,430


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 59.2%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.7% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 96.0%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 21.7%

School Districts: Central Valley Public Schools, Centura Public Schools, Loup City Public Schools, Northwest Public Schools, Palmer Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools

Countywide child care capacity: 8 providers; 183 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.

Howard County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $231,632,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 277

Ag. Producers (Crop): 299

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Aurora Cooperative, St. Paul Co-Op Grain Association

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

Electricity Providers: City of St. Paul, Howard Greeley Rural PPD, Nebraska PPD, Southern PPD

Rail-served Communities: Cotesfield, Elba, St. Libory, St. Paul

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: $0.1616 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $2,354,942

Total local government property taxes levied: $20,623,012

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,456,868,875

Click here for all levy rates in Howard 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: Tom Briese (District 41)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Map and statistics for Legislative District 41

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Howard County History

Year Founded: 1871

Number of Registered Historic Places: 7

Etymology: Oliver Howard (U.S. army general)

The roots of Howard County can be traced back to a pair of government surveyors. After years of surveying throughout the country, J.N and N.J Paul became interested in the central part of Hall County. At the urging of the Pauls, the Legislature adopted an act in March 1871 to divide Hall County and establish boundaries for a new county to be called Howard. The name was selected to honor Civil War Gen. Oliver Otis Howard.

As the 1870s progressed, Howard County began to grow. Settlers coming to the area were said to be young, well-educated, adventurous Easterners seeking to make their fortune in "The Great American Desert."

The first permanent settlement in the county was made by the Pauls in the spring of 1871. When it came time to name the settlement, N.J. Paul suggested Athens. A petition was sent to the Postal Department in Washington for the establishment of a post office called Athens in the settlement. The petition was returned because there was already a post office by that name in the state. Phineas W. Hitchcock, and U.S. senator from Nebraska, suggested the name of Saint Paul, in honor of the settlement's founders. It became St. Paul and eventually the county seat.

As with most county seats, the courthouse in St. Paul was the focal point of the community. When the cornerstone was laid for the building on June 5, 1913, an all-day celebration was planned. It included a parade, ball games, races, fireworks, speeches and ceremonies. It was estimated that more than 6,000 people attended the celebration. The three-story Bedford stone "pride" of St. Paul still serves the residents Howard County today and in 1988 a 75th anniversary celebration was observed.

Over the years the courthouse has been home to more than just county offices, a jail and the courtrooms. At one time the community's public library was located on the third floor and the Grand Army of the Republic once occupied one of the first floor rooms. In return, the latter agreed to build a monument on the front lawn of the courthouse in honor of veterans of the Civil War. The monument still stands today.

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License Plate Number: 49

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 440

Voter Turnout (2022): 54.40%

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

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 132

Number of County-Owned Dams: 2

County Hospital: Howard County Medical Center

State Lands (acres): Harold W. Andersen WMA (272), Leonard A. Koziol WMA (327.70), Marsh Wren WMA (153), Loup Bottoms WMA (86.60), North Loup SRA (19.56)

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)