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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Saunders County

Communities and Development

Saunders County Seat: Wahoo

Total County Population (2020): 22,278

  • Cities (pop. & class): Ashland (3,086 • 2nd Class), Wahoo (4,818 • 2nd Class), Yutan (1,347 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Cedar Bluffs (615), Ceresco (919), Colon (107), Ithaca (160), Malmo (94), Mead (617), Memphis (109), Morse Bluff (117), Prague (291), Valparaiso (595), Weston (250)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 9,045 (41%)

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

  • Agriculture: 89%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (6%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (51%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (23%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 40%, Soybeans 36%, Livestock (grassland) 10%, Other Hay 2%, Alfalfa 2% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 17%
  • Timber: 3%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

433 North Chestnut
Wahoo, Nebraska 68066
M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Dave Lutton

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: First 4 Tuesdays

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Southeast

President: Misty Ahmic, Seward County Commissioner

Vice President: Patty McEvoy, Saunders County Clerk of the District Court

Secretary/Treasurer: Amber Mulberry, Saline County Clerk of the District Court

NACO Board Representative: Mark Schoenrock, Jefferson County Commissioner


Population: 22,278
Land area (sq. mi.): 784.93
Population per square mile: 29.7

Race and Age


White: 92.9%
African American: 0.3%
American Indian: 0.3%
Asian: 0.4%
Hispanic: 2.6%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 3.0%


0-17: 25.1%
18-64: 56.6%
65+: 18.3%


Personal income per capita: $61,840
% of Population in Poverty: 5.7%
# of Housing Units: 9,987
Owner-occupied rate: 79.6%
Median home price: $209,090


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 66.7%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 90.9%

School Districts: Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools, Cedar Bluffs Public Schools, David City Public Schools, East Butler Public Schools, Fremont Public Schools, Gretna Public Schools, Mead Public Schools, North Bend Central Public Schools, Raymond Central Public Schools, Schuyler Community Schools, Wahoo Public Schools, Waverly School District 145, Yutan Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 25.6%

Community College Service Area: Southeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 33 providers; 886 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.

Saunders County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $780,493,000

Cattle Producers: 240

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $46/acre

Crop Producers: 262

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $200/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $288/acre

Dairy Producers: 1

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Frontier

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

Farmers Markets:

  • Downtown Fremont Market (Mid-July - End of September, Thursdays)
  • Valparaiso Farmers Market (June - October, Saturdays 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.)
  • Wahoo Farmers Market (June - October, Saturdays 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

Electricity Providers: Butler PPD, City of Wahoo, Omaha PPD, Village of Prague

Rail-served Communities: Leshara, Mead, Valparaiso, Wahoo, Weston, Yutan

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 1,138

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 128

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Platte River near Venice

Streamflow data on North Oak Creek near Touhy

Streamflow data on North Oak Creek at Valparaiso

Streamflow data on Wahoo Creek at Ithaca

Streamflow data on Wahoo Creek at Ashland

Streamflow data on Salt Creek near Ashland

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: $0.2242 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $10,448,186

Total local government property taxes levied: $74,611,921

Total countywide taxable valuation: $4,660,541,185

Click here for all levy rates in Saunders 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: Bruce Bostelman (District 23)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Committee on Committees

Special Committees: 

  • Statewide Tourism and Recreation Water Access and Resource Sustainability

Other Committees:

  • Rural Broadband Task Force (selected by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council)

Map and statistics for Legislative District 23

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Saunders County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 22

Year Authorized: 1856

Year Organized: 1867

Etymology: Alvin Saunders (Nebraska Territory governor)

Saunders County was created by the Territorial Legislature on Jan. 26, 1856 and at that time was named Calhoun County. But the name Calhoun was not popular among early settlers in the territory, as a government surveyor by that name was suspected of corruption and graft. So in 1862 the Territorial Legislature changed the county's name to Saunders, in honor of territorial Gov. Alvin Saunders.

Ashland is believed to be the first settlement in the county. For many years the area stretching north along the Platte River from Ashland to Leshara was home to the Otoe Indians, while the Pawnee Indians were camped in the bluffs in the northern part of the county.

When the first county election was held in 1866, the settlement of Ashland was chosen as the county seat. In 1870 the county's first courthouse would be built here. Ashland's status as home to this new county's government would be short-lived, however, as in 1873 voters chose a more centrally located Wahoo. Within a year a courthouse would be built in the new county seat and stand for the next 30 years. By the beginning of the 20th century the county was in need of a new home for its offices and in 1904 the present courthouse was built at a cost of $87,000.

Located on the east lawn of the courthouse today is a replica of a Mark 14 torpedo, which stands as a memorial to the U.S.S. Wahoo and its crew of 65 who perished during World War II. The submarine was credited with sinking 20 Japanese ships before it was sunk by enemy action on Oct. 11, 1943. Each October a memorial service is held at the courthouse to honor those who gave their lives in submarine warfare.

A frequently-asked question is how the county seat received its unique name. There are actually two versions that are used to provide the answer. The first is that the name originates from an Indian word for a medicinal plant known as the "burning bush," which grew along the banks of the Wahoo Creek. The second explanation is the name is from the word "pahoo," which means "not very bluffy" terrain.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 6

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 1,574

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 449

Number of County-Owned Dams: 5

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 60.60%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 15,767

Number of Precincts (2020): 17

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 17

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 44.05 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Lower Platte North NRD, Lower Platte South NRD

State Lands (acres): Bramble WMA (93.10 Dodge & Saunders), Catfish Run WMA (21.18), Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center (9,500), Jack Sinn Memorial WMA (1,615.72), Larkspur WMA (160), Memphis Lake SRA (130), Memphis Lake WMA (92), Two Rivers SRA (621.92 Douglas & Saunders), Two Rivers WMA (342 Douglas & Saunders)

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)