Property taxpayers in Douglas and Sarpy Counties can see their preliminary 2020 valuations on their county assessor’s website now. And if you think the number is wrong, you can set up an informal meeting to make your case.

The preliminary valuations posted Wednesday. Many taxpayers are likely to see increases in valuations because of a continued rising real estate market in metropolitan Omaha.

State law requires assessors in the state’s three most populous counties — Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster — to post preliminary valuations in January to give property owners an opportunity to flag problems before the assessor sends final valuations to the Nebraska Department of Revenue on March 25.

If a disagreement isn’t resolved, the property owner can still protest to the Nebraska State Board of Equalization.

In Douglas County, property owners can call 402-444-6734 to schedule a meeting with an appraiser. Meetings will be held through March 2 on a first-call, first-served basis. After Feb. 3, the Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Office will no longer schedule appointments. But taxpayers may email, mail or personally deliver their information to the Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Office. Detailed instructions are on the office’s web site.

In Sarpy County, people can call the Assessor’s Office at 402-593-2122 prior to March 1 to talk to an appraiser if they believe their preliminary valuation does not reflect market value.

“We like the estimated preliminary value meetings, for us to have an opportunity to get the characteristics right,” said Diane Battiato, Douglas County assessor/register of deeds.

The valuation might be based on incorrect information about a house, such as the number of bathrooms, the amount of finished basement space, the total square footage or the home’s condition, she said.

Sarpy County valuations are likely to rise about 4.5%, said Jackie Morehead, chief deputy Sarpy County assessor.

Battiato said she doesn’t know yet how much valuations will change in Douglas County and where, because “it’s still a work in progress. We’re still crunching numbers.”

But, she said, “Our market has not slowed down as far as sale prices.”

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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