County Assessor will adjust property valuations in hopes of easing tax burden

Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 18:40:46-05
The Douglas County Assessor's Office has reached a compromise when it come to those stunning 2017 property values.
Tonight, the County Assessor's Office says there's a solution in sight to bring relief to at least some of those homeowners.
The office presented a plan today which will set 2017 property valuations at 93 percent of market value. This will comply with state law while working to ease some of the burden for taxpayers. 
Some Douglas County homeowners won't be off the hook come tax season. Under the 93 percent abstract plan, some neighborhoods would see property values increase by 0.62; whereas other areas would be hit with 14 percent hikes. 
Douglas County is divided in six different market areas.
"Areas five and six were the two with the most percentage increase. In those areas, you have a lot of new construction, a lot of the new larger additions and a lot of the momentum moving to the western part of our county," said Diane Battiato, Douglas County Assessor. "That has brought in some very high dollar sales."
Individual properties could face jumps much higher than the 14 percent. The adjustments come after assessors went through and modified valuations in more than three thousand neighborhoods. All this work has a hefty pricetag. 
"With all that in the picture, trying to get by, by the skin of our teeth, I came to the realization I can't do it with the budget I have and the staff I have," said Battiato. 
The Assesor's Office says it's already wracked up more than $10,000 dollars worth of overtime with a budget cut by about $250,000 dollars. The previous year's budget was also cut. County Assessor Battiato says she needed to eliminate costs and terminated one of her employees yesterday. 
"It made more sense to me to streamline from the top than to eliminate two of the workers who were struggling to get this done," said Battiato. 
Looking toward the future, the County Assesor's Office will submit their abstract to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Committee.
The Douglas County Board of Equalization will be re-evaluating how the Board of Equalization works in the hopes of keeping valuation increases down in the years to come, while reducing inconsistencies. 
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