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Omaha man’s work to fight rising property values ​​pays off


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Hundreds of Douglas County homeowners are finding out if their property taxes will go up more than they think.

The Equalization Board voted on protests from recent assessments. In June, 6 News learned of a shocking increase on vacant land – tonight the owner finds out if his homework has paid off.

When the value of his lot jumped 3,000 percent, John Riggleman said his protest would not be an empty promise.

“I had no problem paying my fair share of taxes, I just didn’t want to pay excessive taxes,” he said.

For years, the $ 800-valued lot was reassessed by the appraiser to $ 24,200, resulting in an estimated tax jump of nearly $ 500 per year.

Riggleman used his laptop to research land bank listings and prices for other lots in his area.

What he found were lots like his selling for $ 2,000 to $ 3,500, far less than the $ 24,200 which was the county’s value for his lot.

Riggleman turned his homework over to an evaluation referee.

“If these lots are worth $ 24,000, why don’t people buy them for $ 3,000? They are not. They have been sitting there for several years now, ”he said.

County Commissioner PJ Morgan – a successful real estate agent – says that’s how an appraisal protest sells.

“If they really put the right information together and point out the facts, I think the umpires do a great job trying to have as much fairness as possible,” Morgan said.

The arbitrator reduced the value of Riggleman’s prize from $ 24,200 to $ 3,000.

“I’m completely satisfied, I don’t think I’m overrated,” said Riggleman.

Riggleman says his land is not for sale and that he will keep green spaces that are worth much more to his grandchildren.

Douglas County Clerk Dan Esch said more than 6,800 protests had gone to an adjudicator and then to the county board of directors. Approximately 3,900 homeowners have had their valuation changed.

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