Written by: A Concerned Douglas County Homeowner

At a time when the world grapples with soaring costs of living — from the rising prices of essential food items to the unpredictable spike in fuel — the last thing Douglas County residents need is a skyrocketing property tax bill. However, under the leadership of Assessor Toby Damisch, that’s precisely what many homeowners are facing.

For a vivid illustration, take a representative property previously valued at $605,134. This year, under Damisch’s supervision, its new assessment skyrocketed to an astounding $866,017. This represents a nearly 43% hike! Such an increase, in any economic environment, would be hard to swallow. But amidst the backdrop of today’s financial challenges, it feels nothing short of punitive.

The implications are alarming. On top of struggling to keep up with mounting bills for groceries, medical care, and transportation, low-income families and elderly residents on fixed incomes are now confronted with the real possibility of losing their homes. Such a scenario isn’t merely about digits on a tax bill — it’s about potentially pushing our neighbors, friends, and family members out of their homes and into even graver uncertainty.

In light of global and national economic strains, the role of local leadership becomes even more vital. Decisions made at the county level should aim to provide a buffer against broader economic challenges, not exacerbate them. With the current property evaluations, Toby Damisch appears to be doing the latter.

Now, more than ever, Douglas County needs leaders who are attuned to the struggles of its residents. Leaders who can strike a balance between the needs of the county budget and the financial well-being of its citizens. Leaders who recognize that every tax hike, especially one as severe as this, reverberates through households, forcing painful choices and amplifying existing hardships.

The upcoming elections offer Douglas County a chance for change. It’s an opportunity for the community to rally behind a candidate who understands the domino effect of steep property tax hikes on an already burdened populace. One who will prioritize fairness, transparency, and empathy.

Our community deserves an assessor who will approach their duties with a nuanced understanding of today’s economic realities. As we cast our votes, let’s remember the elderly couple on a fixed income, the single parent working multiple jobs, and countless others for whom home isn’t just an asset, but a sanctuary. Let’s ensure that leadership in public office works for the many, not just the few.