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Douglas County Board of Equalization hears options for property valuation relief

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 19:00:55-05
It is the hot button issue in Douglas County so far in 2017 - that has people fired up about their money - property values. 
 
Huge jumps will mean higher taxes and today we learned the county assessor will not cap the increase at three percent. 
 
The Douglas County Assessor revealed today that her hands are tied but she still will consider a couple of plans to keep the hike from being huge.
 
Last week, the Board of Equalization asked how the County Assessor's Office determines valuations and why there are discrepancies between neighborhoods.
 
Today, County Assessor Diane Battiato presented those numbers.
 
"I am deadly serious about looking into what legal remedies we have and if there is no movement by the Assessor's Office," said Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle. "Then I am going to work very hard to pull the nuclear resolution of this problem."
 
"From day one, I said, we're just as concerned about this as the Board is, as the public is because we are all taxpayers as well," said County Assessor Diane Battiato. "Our job is to report the numbers."
 
The take-away of today's Board of Equalization meeting was an understanding of how properties are assessed. Numbers are crunched to determine a median level of value using a sales ratio of assessed value and selling price.
 
"What I am telling you is that what we're seeing in the market  - is place is a fairly aggressive trend for residential appreciation," said Goodwillie.
 
There are other factors present including the coefficient of dispersion, which looks at how closely the sales ratios cluster around the median. Summarized on a simple level - it would reflect a more accurate level of value. The mathematical formulas are computed using mass appraisal computer software. 
 
The Assessor's Office says bottom line - the sales market is rising - translating to higher valued property and more being paid in property taxes. 
 
"Desirability has a lot to do with value. We've seen that historically," said  Battiato. "Some people want to live in one school district or some people want to live by some lake."
 
"It's all about location, location, location."
 
The Board of Equalization and Assessor's Office discussed possible caps of two, three and four percent but  issues remain about those values being unworkable. State law mandates that properties must be valued at 92 to 100 percent of price.
 
Certain neighborhoods would still be paying a four percent increase with others faced with a 20 percent or higher change.
 
A short term solution hasn't been reached. Long term solutions would mean legislative change. 
 
When asked about possible pending litigation between the Board of Equalization and the County Assessor's Office, County Assessor Diane Battiato said she didn't have information about a lawsuit and therefore couldn't comment.