UPDATED: Thursday, 9:30 a.m. (correction to ag land values: there were no increases this year)
WAHOO – The yellow cards for real property valuation changes got into property owners hands last week.
Almost 9,300 valuation change notifications were sent out for the 16,390 parcels of property in Saunders County.
But while that may be a few more change of notification cards than last year, Saunders County Assessor/Register of Deeds Rhonda Andresen said not all of those cards notified owners that their property increased in value.
“Nine thousand seems like a lot, but some of them were lowered,” she said.
Property owners must be notified by June 1 of any changes in valuation – both increase or decrease.
Property owners now have until June 30 to protest the valuation change. Protest forms are available at the county courthouse and online at www.saunderscounty.ne.gov.
Andresen said there were a few inquiries about valuation increases at her office last week. One of the increases on property that people have been asking about is on rural residence.
“We did do a blanket increase on rural residence because it’s been some years since those changed,” she added.
Andresen explained that while ag land value was continually increasing in recent years, there was an effort made not to change the value for the residences.
“They tried not to do the homes when the ag land was going up,” she said. “But, it was just time to get caught up.”
The blanket increase for rural residential ranged from 10 to 12 percent.
As for ag land, there were reductions on some dryland parcels in Areas 2 or 3 (central and eastern parts of the county).
“All the rest stayed the same,” Andresen said.
There were no increases on ag land.
Rural home owners were not the only ones to see values go up.
Some home and building values in Ashland, Yutan, Riverview, Sandy Pointe, Thomas Lakes, Valley View and Wahoo also saw increases.
Some of those increases were less than $100, but any change triggered a notification to be sent.
Andresen said many of the assessments this year are tied to the new computer software that was installed last year.
Using pictometry, an oblique, aerial image that captures buildings at an angle of 40 to 45 degrees, the assessor’s office now has more accurate, updated views at its fingertips. The imagery coupled with GIS allows for both top and side views of buildings and offers opportunities for measurement.
The technology was applied this year to many of the properties in the cities and rural subdivisions.
“It’s just a cleanup of the system with the computer system,” Andresen said.
Office staff has explained the new system to those who have stopped by or called in with questions about valuation changes. The assessor said it’s been a learning curve for everyone and people seem to understand why the new system being used.
“Maybe they are still not happy, but they at least understand,” she said.
The assessor’s office is also trying to get out information about LB512 that was passed by the Legislature this year. This new bill allows property owners who saw at least 20 percent of their property significantly damaged in the March flooding to file for an adjustment to assessed value.
Andresen said she is not sure what to expect in the way of protests this year. Given the amount of notices that were sent out, the first week was not as active as expected.
“It’s slower than I had been anticipating to be honest,” she said.
Overall, Saunders County’s valuation is $3,840,103,783. That was the number reported to the state in March.
Out of the 16,390 parcels in the county, 9,089 are residential, 891 commercial, 64 recreational and 6,346 ag land. There are 417,110.38 acres of taxable farm ground in the county.