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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Polk County

Communities and Development

Polk County Seat: Osceola

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Polk (346), Shelby (710)

Total County Population (2020): 10,127

  • Cities (pop. & class): Osceola (875 • 2nd Class), Stromsburg (1,143 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Polk (346), Shelby (710)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 2,140 (41%)

Land Development (2022) (% of total land in county):

  • Agriculture: 91%
    • By method: Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (65%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (14%); Pasture (pure grassland) (11%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 46%, Soybeans 32%, Livestock (grassland) 11%, Alfalfa 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (2%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 8%
  • Timber: 2%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

400 Hawkeye Street
Osceola, Nebraska 68651
M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Jerry Westring

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st, 3rd & 4th 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: Bill Maendele, Buffalo County Commissioner


Population: 5,174
Land area (sq. mi.): 438.67
Population per square mile: 11.9

Race and Age


White: 91.1%
African American: 0.2%
American Indian: 0.3%
Asian: 0.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 3.2%


0-17: 22.7%
18-64: 54.2%
65+: 23.1%


Personal income per capita: $65,364
% of Population in Poverty:7.3%
# of Housing Units: 2,524
Owner-occupied rate: 79.6%
Median home price: $138,900


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 59.5%

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: 90.2%

School Districts: Centennial Public Schools, Columbus Public Schools, Cross County Community Schools, High Plains Community Schools, Osceola Public Schools, Shelby-Rising City Public Schools, Twin River Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 19.2%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 12 providers; 130 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.

Polk County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $238,656,000

Cattle Producers: 125

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $51/acre

Crop Producers: 298

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $180/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $267/acre

Dairy Producers: 2

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Central Valley Ag, Frontier

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

Farmers Market: Osceola Farmers Market (July - August, Wednesdays 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.)

Electricity Providers: City of Stromsburg, Polk County Rural PPD, Village of Polk

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 1 turbine (2,500 MW total)

Rail-served Communities: Osceola, Polk, Shelby, Strombsburg

Well Locations (Irrigation/Livestock), Soils, Groundwater & Surface Water

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 2,022

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 36

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on Clear Creek (1.75 mile west of the county's eastern border)

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: $0.2262 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $4,184,060

Total local government property taxes levied: $22,579,131

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,849,812,438

Click here for all levy rates in Polk 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: Jana Hughes (District 24)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • LR135 Select Interim Committee

Special Committees: 

  • Building Maintenance

Map and statistics for Legislative District 24

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Polk County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 6

Year Authorized: 1856

Year Organized: 1870

Etymology: James Polk (11th U.S. president)

Members of the Territorial Legislature established a series of county boundaries along the Platte River on Jan. 26, 1856. At the time Polk County was part of a larger Butler County. Fourteen years later, a special election resulted in the creation of the present day Polk County, named after the 11th president of the United States, James Knox Polk.

When the county was organized in 1870, there was no county seat or courthouse. Each county official who had been elected at an August election conducted county business from his residence.

In October 1871, county residents voted to make the settlement of Osceola the county seat. County commissioners approved the construction of a frame courthouse and took possession of the building when it was completed in 1872. Unfortunately, the courthouse was destroyed by fire nine years later and many of the county's documents were lost.

One year after the destructive fire, a new courthouse was opened. The brick building, which cost $10,000, became a source of pride for county residents. With the publicity the courthouse received when it opened in 1882, it was soon being visited by people from outside the county. In fact, an excursion train was run from David City in neighboring Butler County to bring visitors to see the new building.

As the 20th century began, like so many other counties in the state, Polk County found itself outgrowing its courthouse. So in 1922 the present courthouse was constructed. The three-story building was an architectural landmark. Around a steel reinforced frame was built a modern renaissance exterior that featured terra cotta trim. The interior of the building was highlighted with marble stairs and wainscoting.

Polk County was developed as an agricultural area. Despite severe storms, blizzards and an infestation of grasshoppers in the 1870s and 1880s, those who made a living off the land persevered. That same hearty spirit is prevalent today as the county's economy is based primarily on family farming and livestock production.

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Local Highlights

Communities and Development

License Plate Number: 41

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 344

County Hospital: Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 79

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 58.15%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 3,660

Number of Precincts (2020): 6

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 5

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 87.73 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Central Platte NRD, Upper Big Blue NRD

State Lands (acres): Flatsedge WMA (79.50)

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)