County Board Petitions Property Valuations in Callaway

County Board Petitions Property Valuations in Callaway
County Attorney, Assessor, and Board of Supervisors petitioned with TERC Wednesday afternoon

BROKEN BOW—On Wednesday afternoon, the Custer County Board of Supervisors gathered for a Public Hearing over the phone with the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) out of Lincoln. At the July 25 supervisors meeting, the board voted to petition the Callaway Residential study of property valuations after board member Matt Eggleston suggested that the method of collecting data was not done effectively. With the help of County Attorney Steve Bowers, the board was able to submit a petition and include three pieces of evidence.

The petition asks for TERC to adjust residential valuations of properties in Callaway to achieve equalization as stated in the Nebraska Constitution.

First to testify during the hearing was County Assessor Connie Braithwaite, who has held the position since 1999. She explained that there were 32 sales in Callaway over the last two-year cycle but that a 10% economic depreciation was used instead of the standard 30% that is usually used specifically in Callaway. The depreciation was rolled back to 10% to get valuations in the 92-100% valuation range, according to Bowers. The 99% median then fell into that acceptable range. Braithwaite said she also worked with the Department of Revenue.

County Supervisor Matt Eggleston also testified and spoke to the inaccuracies in using medians and means when collecting data. A concern expressed was that the Coefficient of Dispersion should normally be 15% or less of the 99% median on residential property valuations, but that the valuations done by the state were outside of the acceptable median range. The blanket reduction in depreciation should not have caused valuations to go up, but they did. Bowers expressed to TERC that these valuations are not equitable and were not done in accordance with the law. The county asked for the depreciation to go back to 30%.

The Public Hearing ended for a recess and statewide equalization would resume at 3pm in Lincoln. The Tax Equalization and Review Commission reported that it would issue an order to Custer County by the end of Thursday with a final decision regarding the Callaway residential property valuations.