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Omaha businesses hit with high property tax tab

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:25 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After fighting the effects of COVID-19, Douglas County commercial property owners who are concerned and upset say now isn’t the time for huge property tax increases.

It has been a tough year for some owners of commercial and industrial property and they say an increase in property taxes could make things worse.

“COVID has hurt us by 75% in revenue, said property owner, Jackie Law.

Jackie Law owns a building in Ralston and believes property taxes are too high, especially after dealing with COVID. She tells 6 News she understands why taxes are on the rise.

“We as Nebraskans don’t have the population to support a lot of things that we want. We want the services and the services cost money,” said Law.

When Ann Hough took a look at her property taxes, the numbers got her attention. She owns a business that offers the services of electrical engineers.

Her mother and father started the business and now she runs the business with her brother.

“Well it was surprising, it went up about $200,000 in valuation which is quite a jump. We’re down here low, we get a lot of rainwater from the city on our property. We don’t have an expensive piece of property,” said Hough.

Douglas County Assessor and Register of Deeds, Diane Battiato say there’s more to determining the value of commercial and industrial property than the value of the ground it sits on.

“Through the preliminary values, what happens with commercial and industrial is a different method of mass appraisal than residential is. And what we have to deal with rather than market sales in residential, we have to deal with profit and losses, vacancy rates, their bottom line,” said Battiato.

Douglas County officials say the price of commercial property is on the rise.

“We were in a very vibrant market even commercially so this last year, every sector of commercial was not hurt, only certain sectors. So depending on what sector of commercial you’re in is going to depend on how your 2021 valuations end up,” said Battiato.

Ann believes no matter how it’s figured, her property taxes are just too high and she would like to keep her 45-year-old business in the family.

“It’s nice that they passed this business on to us and we would like to pass it on the next generation as well. Possibly, we may protest. I’ve done that in the past both for business and our home and it isn’t successful so it’s kind of difficult to win your argument,” said Hough.

Douglas County officials say property owners conformally protest their property valuations to the Douglas County Board of Equalization in June.

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