Archive for Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valuation increases on residential, commercial properties slow this year

February 13, 2007

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Douglas County property owners will be seeing an average of less than a 3 percent increase in their valuations this year, County Appraiser Marion Johnson told county commissioners Monday.

Valuation notices will be mailed Feb. 28, Johnson said. The state requires that notices be mailed by March 1.

The 3 percent increase is an average for both residential and commercial properties, Johnson said.

He estimated that up to 4,000 residential properties would see values decrease.

That comes as no surprise. Last month Johnson told a joint meeting of county, Lawrence city commissioners and school district leaders that the valuation growth would be about 2.5 percent, far short of the historical averages of 5 percent to 7 percent per year.

The downturn in the housing market is one factor resulting in the slower valuation increase, Johnson said. Another key reason is a new state law that exempts many types of business equipment and machinery from taxation, Johnson said last month.

Although most of the valuation numbers have been crunched, the appraiser's office is still finalizing its total figures, Johnson said.

Notices this year will not include supporting data on property sales as they have in past years, Johnson said. That is due to a new state-mandated software program the county used. The software is being phased in across the state and Douglas County was the first to use it, Johnson said. The new notice has no room for the additional information, he said.

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