In July, more than 500 Sarpy County taxpayers appealed their property valuations to the Sarpy County Board. During this annual review, the Board sided with approximately 50 property owners who challenged how the first acre of their agricultural land was valued by the Sarpy County Assessor’s Office.
“The first acre rule used by the County Assessor to determine valuation isn’t fair to rural property owners,” said Commissioner Jim Warren, Vice Chairman of the Sarpy County Board. “Lowering the assessed value is the right thing to do, and frankly, I wish it’s something we could do for all of rural landowners, not just the 50 or so who filed protests.”
The total change in valuation is approximately $1.35 million, which means the County Board reduced the overall tax base by just under $4,000.
The Assessor’s Office filed an appeal with Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission, seeking to have the reduction reversed.
County Board Chairman Don Kelly criticized the Assessor’s decision to file an appeal because it may require both sides to hire outside representation at the County’s expense.
"The Board and the Assessor are represented by the County Attorney, so to avoid a conflict of interest we may have to hire two different outside lawyers and probably spend well over the $4,000 the Assessor is challenging. This is just a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money on the part of the Assessor’s Office, and I’d prefer that office focus its efforts on ensuring the accuracy of valuations of" all types of properties across the county,” Kelly said.