There is a big change coming to the way people can challenge their property valuations in Douglas and Sarpy counties. The window of opportunity is expanding.
Last year, in Douglas County alone, 3,800 people complained about the valuations and now they’ll have more time to do so.
It used to be that we would get a postcard in the mail in May from the assessor telling us the value of our home. We would then have just a month to challenge the information. That is still true but because of a new law, we'll be able to go online as of January 15 and get the same information.
Mark Bosworth of Omaha said, "We get notices in the mail and we check the assessor's website and check our values; that sort of thing."
While Mark has never found a need to protest, he understands the importance of having an appeal process. After all, he's studying to become an attorney.
“You always want to be aware of what you're paying and to protect your rights," he said.
Beginning Wednesday Douglas County and Sarpy County property owners can look up the information online. A new law forced the assessor to get that information out months earlier. If there's a problem, such as wrong square footage or a recent sale or unfinished basement that would clearly change a home's value, you can complain about it now and schedule an appointment rather than having to wait until May.
It's something Mark Bosworth will monitor.
He said, “Anything that lets the homeowner have more time and take an active approach in their property I think it's a positive."
And that's the point. It allows property owners every chance to challenge whether their property is given a fair value by the government.
The Douglas County Assessor says the Web site will give pointers on how to schedule an appointment for the protest, what information to document and what to expect. You can even mail or email your challenge. And if you're still not happy with the results you’ll also have the window in June to protest with the Board of Equalization.