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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Kearney County

Kearney County Seat (pop.): Minden (3,118)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Axtell (732), Heartwell (81), Norman (32), Wilcox (330)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

424 North Colorado Avenue
Minden, Nebraska 68959
M-F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Brent Stewart

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st Tuesday after 1st Monday & 3rd Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Central

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

District Vice President: Kali Bolli, Garfield County Assessor 

District Secretary/Treasurer: Cara Snider Wheeler County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Jim Pavelka, Clay County Supervisor

Click for a live look at Kearney County (east of Axtell)


Population: 6,674
Land area (sq. mi.): 516.24
Population per square mile: 13.0


White: 90.3%
African American: 0.4%
American Indian: 0.6%
Asian: 0.3%
Hispanic: 7.9%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%


0-17: 25.2%
18-64: 54.4%
65+: 20.3%


Personal income per capita: $72,421
% of Population in Poverty: 7.6%
# of Housing Units: 2,985
Owner-occupied rate: 73.2%
Median home price: $162,640


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 79.2%

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: 94.0%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 26.4%

School Districts: Axtell Public Schools, Gibbon Public Schools, Kearney Public Schools, Kenesaw Public Schools, Minden Public Schools, Silver Lake Public Schools, Wilcox-Hildreth Public Schools

Countywide child care capacity: 16 providers; 266 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.

Kearney County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $338,079,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 106

Ag. Producers (Crop): 238

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Aurora Cooperative, CPI

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

Electricity Providers: City of Minden, Southern PPD, Village of Wilcox

Rail-served Communities: Axtell, Heatwell, Minden

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: $0.2251 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $4,315,367

Total local government property taxes levied: $27,682,625

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,917,078,015

Click here for all levy rates in Kearney 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: Steve Halloran (District 33)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Map and statistics for Legislative District 33

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Kearney County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 8

Year Authorized: 1860

Year Organized: 1860 

Etymology: Fort Kearny (misspelled)

The Kearney County courthouse in Minden is known statewide for the tens of thousands of lights that adorn it each Christmas season. The three-story structure and its 100-foot dome are so brilliantly illuminated each season that Minden is often referred to as "The Christmas City."

This annual ritual actually dates back to 1915 when a group of citizens requested that lights be strung up around the courthouse square and along Minden Avenue to the city auditorium where the state encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic was to be held in May of that year. The request was approved, but inclement weather prevented this illumination tribute from taking place. The city's light commissioner then suggested that the 100 bulbs be colored and strung around the courthouse that December. The idea proved to be so popular that more and more bulbs were added over the years. In addition, a holiday pageant was incorporated in the annual activities.

Kearney County was organized and its boundaries defined by the Territorial Legislature on Jan. 10, 1860. Its roots and development date back to Fort Kearny. Kearny City was located just west of the fort and for a while would serve as the county seat. Since it was located on the Oregon Trail, Kearny City was primarily supported by travelers.

The difference between the spelling of county and fort names occurred when someone in the federal government inadvertently added an "e." The error became so prevalent that it was never corrected and the county's spelling would remain Kearney.

An election in 1872 moved the county seat to a townsite named Lowell. Eventually the demand came for a more centrally located county seat and in 1878 construction began on a frame courthouse in Minden. This building soon became antiquated and in 1906 the present courthouse was officially opened. The Bedford stone, three-story structure features marble floors and stairways, and that well-known 100-foot dome from which they began stringing holiday lights roughly 10 years later.

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License Plate Number: 52

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 357

Voter Turnout (2022): 56.94%

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

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 61

County Hospital: Kearney County Health Services

State Lands (acres): Fort Kearney SRA (186.18), Northeast Sacramento WMA (40)

Federal Lands (acres): Bluestem WPA (75.93), Clark WPA (451), Freirichs WPA (46.50), Gleason WPA (569.58), Jensen WPA (465), Killdeer Basin WPA (38.36), Lindau WPA (152.38), Prairie Dog Marsh WPA (892), Youngstown WPA (183)

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)