Letter to the Editor

Assessor responds

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

As an elected official, I took an oath of office to uphold the laws of the State of Nebraska and to fulfill the duties of the office to which I was elected. A large part of those laws are to value all property within market value each and every year. 2015 has brought several valuation issues to my attention and with approximately 5,000 parcels in Hitchcock County I have set residential, commercial and agricultural values within the statutory requirements. If you look at the 2015 Reports and Opinions of the Property Tax Administrator for Hitchcock County you will find that the quality of assessment for each property class meets generally accepted mass appraisal practices.

Likewise the level of value for agricultural land is 74 percent; residential is 94 percent and commercial is 100 percent.

The valuation process is a very complicated one and not measured by friends, other citizens or prior officials. Classification of your property is very important and that begins the cycle of processes used to determine fair market value. Property Tax Directive #09-04 was signed by Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald on Aug. 25, 2009. This State Directive requires Assessors to classify government program acres such as CREP, CRP, and EQIP etc. on the property record cards.

Six years has passed until I had the chance to complete this mandate.

Market values of these classifications became apparent to me with approximately 25 percent of the CREP acres selling in Hitchcock County. We are in the {21st} century and Federal and State laws govern our lives.

Water and no water has controlled Nebraska pocketbooks and our corn crops. In turn, no water has literally affected the market value of "irrigable" land. It needs to be assessed accordingly. I urge readers to research the facts such as Agricultural taxpayers pay 67.14 percent of the property taxes in Hitchcock County. Agricultural land values have increased as much as 233.58 percent since 2004.

It is more important than ever to assess properties at a fair market

value. When markets fall, our counties, school districts, fire districts, ESU's, Villages etc. will be devastated by decreased valuations.

Farmers are the backbone of our tax base in these counties. I would like to emphasize to do your homework on what an average rural residential property and what CREP land sells for in your area; one is increasing and one is decreasing. The fact is recent public opinions have market information on these two property types reversed. Market values are market values whether they come up or down.

School has started, so taxpayers do your homework please, before your tax statements come out for 2015.

Marlene Bedore

Hitchcock County Assessor

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: