Farmers should brace for increase in property, soil value

LISBON – Farmers in Columbiana County should brace for a combined 45 percent increase in property and soil values in 2014, which is why they are being encouraged to attend a public meeting being held Monday.

The 7 p.m. meeting is at United Local High School, and the featured speaker will be Leah Curtis from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, who will explain the proposed changes in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV).

CAUV is the state program which reduces the taxable value of land used for agricultural-related purposes by assigning soil values. The Ohio Department of Taxation reviews CAUVs every three years using a complicated formula based on a number of factors and adjusts CAUVs accordingly.

The news of the CAUV increase came just as county Auditor Nancy Milliken announced a state-mandated re-evaluation of all types of county property values will result in residential real estate values dropping by 2.9 percent in 2014, while farmland values will increase by 5 percent.

This is not to be confused with the parcel-by-parcel countywide reappraisal performed every six years by the auditor’s office. The re-evaluation must be performed midway between the reappraisal, and it is based on a three-year comparison of home sales versus their appraised value as listed by the auditor’s office.

“The good news is that residential values were decreased by approximately 2.9 percent,” Milliken said.

Since property taxes are based on real estate values, the average residential property owner can expect to see their taxes decrease slightly, she said, adding that the auditor’s website has yet to be updated to reflect the new values, although the figures are available for review at the office.

As mentioned above, CAUV is a soil value for farmland assigned by the state. Milliken said their only involvement is administering the CAUV program by accepting applications and determining eligibility.

She said the state informed them this week that CAUV values are set to jump by 40 percent in 2014, which will be in addition to the 5 percent increase in farmland property values coming from her office’s reevaluation.

“In spite of the increases, the CAUV program still provides significant reductions over non-CAUV valuations,” Milliken said, adding the CAUV generally reduces farmland values by 50 percent or more.

Milliken hopes residents take advantage and attend Monday’s meeting. “We’re encouraging folks to attend the meeting because (Curtis) will be able to explain it,” she said. “Three years ago the gym was packed” for the last CAUV meeting.

The county has 1,800 property owners who own about 170,000 acres enrolled in the CAUV program. Approximately 4,000 parcels of the 77,000 parcels of land in the county are enrolled in the CAUV program.