Some Douglas County homeowners to see property tax increases

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 18:23:39-05
"Valuation"  it's an ugly word for many homeowners. It is when the county decides your home is worth more, meaning you will be paying more in taxes.  
Some home owners shared their opposition at a Douglas County Board Meeting today.
Many homeowners in Douglas County who are being hit with significant property tax increases anywhere from about 3 percent - to in some cases - more than 400 percent.
Homeowner after homeowner, similar stories of tax hikes for more than two and a half hours. 
"I'm going to pay two hundred a month more in property taxes and I think it's outrageous."
"In the Drexel Circle area in Ralston: 21,400 to 55,800 or $2.30 a square foot to $6 a square foot," said Douglas County Commissioner James Cavanaugh. 
By law, the county Assessor's Office must give preliminary valuations every January. It's based on two factors: the land and improvements. In some cases, land value estimates skyrocketed while home values stayed the same or decreased.
The Douglas County Assessor's Office says some neighborhood zones saw increase rates from around 3 percent to 23 percent. This not including discrepancies. 
"If we find discrepancies, we're going to go back into that neighborhood and review it and hopefully if there's inconsistencies or incorrect data," said Douglas County Assessor Diane Battiato. "We're going to correct that data and review that value."
Some neighborhoods haven't seen accurate property value re-assessments in a number of years. 
"Un-buildable lot, That valuation went from $1,000 to $83,000 dollars. Un-buildable. You can not build on this lot," said Keith Schroeder, property owner. "Would you like it? I'll donate it to you guys if i can get away from this."
The Douglas County Assessor's Office say they're simply following protocol and argues that property value is based on how other homes in the neighborhood have sold. 
As for what's next: 
"I really truly believe it's time we have this conversation with our state senators to say with what we've done, this is broken," said Douglas County Commission Chair Mary Ann Borgeson.  "Let's fix it."
The board is considering turning to state lawmakers for assistance. 
The County Assessor is informally meeting with  property owners concerned about their preliminary valuations from now through February 28th. You can schedule an appointment by phone at (402) 444-6734.
Appointments must be scheduled before February 10th. You can learn more here