Buffalo County and Kearney County property values are going to be reassessed in 2023.
Assessor Roy Meusch detailed his plans to the Buffalo County Commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.
The changes begin in February, Meusch told the Hub.
“February 1st we’re going to be sending out preliminary values for the properties, and the Kearney area, and all 10 communities. There within the city limits or jurisdictions of those properties, values are going to look different because we did a reassessment or reappraisal for all of those properties, which is about 12,000 homes,” he said.
Values will look different this year.
“Their value last year will not play into the new valuation,” said Meusch. “The new valuation is a new formula, new charts and all new information being applied to those.”
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He added, “Hopefully, their value will reflect market value of their property, as of January 1st.”
A challenge has been “not having accurate values,” Meusch told commissioners.
“That comes from values not making sense,” he said. “People told us time and time again during protests ‘This doesn’t make any sense. Why is my value what it is?’ The ability to say, ‘This is why I believe it should be that value,’ we have a hard time doing that.”
Accurate values for lots held by developers will be tackled, as well.
“That’s real easy to take care of, and we want to deal with that right off the bat and eliminate the need for protests for those,” said Meusch.
The current market is “crazy” and has added to these challenges, said Meusch.
Homes appreciated in value in Buffalo County at 3% per year, meaning a home purchased for $100,000 would go up to about $103,000 in a year’s time, explained Meusch.
This changed over the last two years.
“The value is appreciating at about 12% per year,” he said.
Because of these factors, Kearney and Buffalo County are going to be reassessed in 2023.
“I’m going to throw out their old values and trade in new values for each residential parcel in those communities,” said Meusch. “That’s about 9,500 in Kearney and about 2,500 outside of Kearney in those small communities.”
He added, “Values will look different for next year, good and bad.”
The new model will allow the county to get away from the “highs and lows” seen before, and get rid of “the yo-yo effect.”
“In the past our values were so low and some of them so high, our people would come to you guys and say, ‘Why in the world is my value this and my neighbor getting this?’” said Meusch. “We have to bring these together, otherwise we’re not going to have statistics for the state that makes them happy and have taxpayer values that I can defend.”
In 2024, rural subdivisions and rural areas will be reassessed.
“That’s going to be a little more complex,” said Meusch. “I couldn’t handle everything in one year, so I’m doing it in parts and pieces.”
In 2025, Meusch will tackle “miscellaneous improvements,” such as walk-out basements and decks, and rural commercial.
Poor communication with the public has also been a challenge for the office, said Meusch, and starting in January he plans to present these changes directly to the community.
“My door will be open to the public. I can’t say that enough,” he said.
Commissioner Bill Maendele encouraged the community to engage the assessor’s office.
“The public needs to know that if they disagree with their valuation to reach out to you and your office, and they have to be able to let you come assess it if they’re saying it’s not what we have on the books,” he said.
Commissioner Sherry Morrow applauded the efforts.
“I think people a lot of times just want to be heard. They understand if you explain it to them, but they just want somebody to listen,” she said.
The changes will require “a lot of work,” said Meusch, but the effort will be worthwhile.
“When we put values on peoples’ property, I take that seriously,” he told the Hub. “My big long-term goal is to build communication and trust back with the public and try to get values that are fair and equitable, and make sense to the property owner.”