The Property Assessment Division inside Nebraska’s Revenue Department is looking into reports from across the state of some wide swings in the valuation of certain agricultural land.
As valuation change notices hit mailboxes last week, Senator Steve Erdman said his office fielded a number of calls from across Nebraska, asking why LB372, which he sponsored and was passed last year, caused certain landowner valuations to change.
State Property Tax Administrator Ruth Sorensen tells KNEB News her office is now checking to find out if the changes were due to the way the new law was implemented by county assessors, changes in market pricing or a combination of factors. “I have requested from each county assessor a comparison of the 2019 values to the 2020 values for agricultural land only,” says Sorensen, “We’re going to look through that and see if there are significant shifts and if there are, why. And then we’ll see if there’s something we can do by bringing a report to the county boards of equalization if, in fact, this is something that should not have happened.”
Sorensen says the soil is still the same, and valuations should not have changed based solely on a change in land capability groupings that shifted classifications from a dryland production basis to specific applied use.
In addition to changes due to recent property sales, Sorensen says other adjustments could be due to county-specific reasons. She says for example, Scotts Bluff County’s mass appraisal of rural properties last year and matching information on the tax rolls to GIS mapping for the first time could also have had an impact on proposed valuations.