There’s only one thing wrong with the tax information on about 230,000 postcards that Douglas County sent this week to property owners — but it’s a big thing.
The information is about somebody else’s property.
A printing company made the mistake that is leaving people all over Omaha feeling dazed and confused. They were calling Douglas County administration and Clerk’s Office nonstop Friday.
Now the printer and county officials are scrambling to get new, corrected postcards in the mail. The Douglas County Clerk’s Office created an on-line worksheet Friday for people who want to try to figure it out themselves sooner.
The green postcards, emblazoned with “NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE,” went out Wednesday to people in Omaha and the rest of Douglas County. Counties across the Nebraska are required by a new state law to send them out.
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The cards must detail how the proposed budgets of major local taxing entities, such as cities and school districts, could affect the specific owner’s pocketbook in the coming year. The notices also inform people of public hearings, new this year, that are designed to give people more information about the proposed budgets and an extra opportunity to have their say about property taxes.
The information on the postcards about the hearing in Douglas County is correct. It is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the legislative chamber on the second floor of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St.
“The (meeting) notice is correct,” said Patrick Bloomingdale, Douglas County’s chief administrative officer. But “when you look at your own information, that’s all for somebody else’s property.”
It might be somebody’s house down the street, or somebody’s real estate across town, he said. The card might say you own a house in Elkhorn, even though your home is on 50th Street in central Omaha.
“We’re hurrying to get new cards out by Monday so they’ll get out to people’s houses by Wednesday,” Bloomingdale said.
The error was made by the printer, FAC Print & Promo Co. of La Vista. A test run looked good, but when the actual cards were printed, they were wrong. The county, which paid $84,000 for the cards, won’t have to pay anything for the corrected mailers.
Matthew Tarr, president and owner of FAC, said the error was caused by a computer glitch and was not caught before the cards were printed and sent.
“It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “We’re embarrassed it happened. We’re fixing it.”
Meanwhile, Douglas County Clerk Dan Esch said people with internet access can use the Douglas County Joint Public Hearing/Postcard Information link on his office’s website to research their own property before the new postcards arrive.
Michael LaCroix was frustrated and mystified by the card that came to his home, near Omaha’s Memorial Park.
The card listed his assessed value for tax year 2021, and his assessed value for 2022. Both were way off.
“How can they get these numbers so wrong?” LaCroix wondered.
He didn’t even notice initially that the card also listed a real estate parcel number, address and a legal description that aren’t his, along with the name of a corporation under the heading “taxpayer information.” When it sunk in that it was somebody else’s property information, LaCroix said, “What a mess. They’re trying to do the right thing and follow the letter of the law, and then have this mess.”
Read More: A really bad printing error: Postcards give wrong info to Douglas County taxpayers | Politics &