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Check property values carefully
The Red Willow County assessor's office is busy and neighbors are talking to neighbors once again thanks to new valuation letters that recently went out.
"How much did your property go up?" is the most common question, although some have found their valuations actually declined. You can check out your property at http://redwillow.gisworkshop.com/
If you find glaring errors in the information, you should contact the assessor's office Friday, because the item will be on the County Commissioners' agenda Monday. After that, if you don't agree with the valuation, you have until the end of this month to file a protest. That form is available at http://pat.ne.gov/general/forms/pdf/422_Property_Valuation_Protest.pdf
Keep in mind that higher property valuations don't necessarily mean higher taxes, although if the county commissioners set the same levy as last year, higher valuations actually result in higher total taxes.
Also remember that the majority of property taxes go to support the local school system, and the majority of those taxes pay the salaries of teachers and staff. City and county budgets take a relatively small proportion of the total tax bite.
The issue brings up our whole system of taxation, and whether a better, more equitable system might be found. Most of the people attending a recent meeting about proposed new city facilities seemed to agree, the majority favoring the use of sales taxes instead of, or combined with, property taxes.
So check out your property descriptions, correct any errors, and help us keep track of the process of taxing and budgeting that keeps our local governments in operation.