Douglas County Commission to discuss county property values, which grew 4% in 2021

photo by: Jackson Barton/Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Courthouse and downtown Lawrence are pictured in an aerial photo Saturday, July 13, 2019.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, overall property values in Douglas County increased in 2021. However, some areas saw significant declines, including the lodging industry and downtown businesses.

According to a report from County Appraiser Steven Miles, the property values throughout Douglas County increased by roughly 4% over the last year.

The County Commission during its meeting on Wednesday will discuss the values and the appraiser’s work to establish the figures. The discussion is for information purposes, and the commission is not expected to take any action related to the report.

While property values are used to help determine tax rates for various local governments, County Administrator Sarah Plinsky told the Journal-World Tuesday the report was meant to provide the commissioners with a better understanding of how the local economy was doing during the pandemic.

In a memo to the commissioners, Miles said the residential property market has remained strong during the pandemic, as home sales continued to increase. Additionally, a shortage of homes for sale led to more construction in the county, which helps increase the county’s overall property value.

But Miles noted that the commercial side struggled during the pandemic, specifically the lodging industry, with some hotels and motels seeing a decrease in property values by 30%. Meanwhile, downtown Lawrence businesses saw decreases up to 15%, he said.

“We hope, as everyone does, this will have only a temporary effect on property valuations and the next 2-4 years will see improvement,” Miles said in the memo.

In other business, the commissioners will meet for a work session to discuss population growth and how that affects the county’s development planning.

The County Commission will convene at 4 p.m. for its work session and at 5:30 p.m. for its regular business meeting. The meeting will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 939 5368 7050.

Full audio from the meeting will continue to be posted on the county’s website, as usual. The meeting’s full agenda may also be found on the county’s website.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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