Assessed value for county drops

Douglas County's property value continued to fall this year, but that will be small comfort to most homeowners whose property taxes continue to increase by the 3 percent cap.

Assessor Doug Sonnemann said total property value for the county will drop to $2.711 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2011.

That's down 8.3 percent from the $2.96 billion property value from this fiscal year and $3.36 billion for 2009-2010.

The county's assessed valuation peaked at $3.44 billion in 2007.

According to Sonnemann, of the 13,839 owner occupied parcels in the county, property taxes on 10,417 will go up 3 percent next year. Only 615 will go up less than the 3 percent cap, and the other 2,807 will see a tax decrease.

The picture is a little brighter on the commercial side.

Of the 8,590 properties subject to the 7-percent cap, Sonnemann said 3,400 parcels may see lower taxes next year. About 3,500 will see their property value go up by the 7 percent.

That's because when the Legislature-enacted tax relief went into effect in 2005, it didn't ignore rapidly increasing property values, but banked them. The law only limited how much the actual tax bill could increase, not the assessed value.

For commercial property, lawmakers established a lower bar that allowed the abatement to decrease more rapidly.

For residential property, the 3 percent increase pooled more money as property values increased rapidly during the boom years.

Sonnemann said that means it will take longer for the abatement to run out.

Taxpayers received their assessment notices last week in the mail.


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