OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Property assessments have shot through the roof all across the city, some by almost 800%. The Douglas County Assessor sets the valuations which determine your property taxes.
WOWT 6 News met Nancy, who lives in a modest neighborhood near Westside High School. In 2016, Nancy's land was assessed at $42,800. Now it's assessed at $337,600. Nancy said: "I could not believe anything could go up that high for taxes in one year. It's just not fair."
Nancy places the blame on the Douglas County Assessor Diane Battiato. Battiato was elected two years ago, earning a taxpayer-funded salary of more than $120,000. She and her office are in charge of the property assessments that determine property taxes.
Nancy told WOWT 6 News: "She came to my house when she was campaigning and said she was working to make everything fair across the city." When WOWT 6 News asked Nancy if she thought Battiato upheld her campaign promise, Nancy said: "No, not right now."
WOWT 6 News also spoke to Mary Ann Borgeson, Chair of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. She said: "It's outrageous. There has to be an explanation for it." Borgeson has received several angry phone calls and emails from property owners upset about the skyrocketing valuations.
Borgeson told WOWT 6 News she encourages anyone who thinks their valuation is out-of-line to contact the Board of Commissioners. There is an appeal process and the Board can help.
Since Battiato is accountable to the voters who put her in office, WOWT 6 News asked her for an explanation, she said for decades, land in Douglas County has been under valuated and now her office is trying to bring valuations to current market levels.
“Is it fair to bring the values up to market level all at once?” asked reporter Brandon Scott.
“Fair might not be the word. It might not be fair. But it's reality,” said Battiato.
If you disagree with your property's valuation during any tax year, you may file a Property Valuation Protest with the Douglas County Board of Equalization (BOE). Forms are available in the office of the Douglas County Clerk or can be downloaded from the BOE website. The Property Valuation Protest form can be filed between June 1 and June 30. If you are dissatisfied with the BOE‘s decision, you may appeal that decision to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC).