Most property values to see increase

LISBON — After more than six years of declining property values, most residential property owners will experience an increase in 2017 as a result of the recently completed countywide reappraisal.

Columbiana County Auditor Nancy Milliken reported this week that property values will increase for 59 percent of the 77,000 residential parcels, while values will decrease for 33 percent. Eight percent of values will remain unchanged.

Residential property values are expected to increase by 2.6 percent on average, but Milliken cautioned that does not translate into an automatic increase in property taxes because of a variety of factors that go into the formula used to make that determination.

“In every community and in every tax district it’s going to be different,” she said. “I’m sure it did drop in some areas, but in other areas it’s up. It’s all based on what properties are selling for in these areas.”

Ohio law requires each property be reappraised by the county auditor every six years, and the last review was performed in 2010, resulting in a 2.9 percent average decrease in residential property values. This was in the aftermath of the so-called Great Recession of the 2007-08.

Midway between every comprehensive reappraisal the state adjusts county property values by comparing individual home sales during the previous three years with the appraised value on record at the auditor’s office. The last midway adjustment occurred in 2013 and resulted in another 2.9 percent average decrease in residential property values.

In other words, residential property values decreased by 5.8 percent on average between 2007 and 2013, which is the first time county officials can recall this ever happening in their memory.

Even with the increase, Milliken said residential properties are only appraised at 93 percent of what the Ohio Department of Taxation believes should be the actual value based on property sales in the county.

“We had argued for 90 percent and they always want us at 100 percent,” but the state eventually agreed to 93 percent, she said. “We fought the good fight and got it as low as we could …. When we talked to other counties they’re increases have been significantly higher, like 7-8 percent.”

Farm land values will increase by an average of 3.7 percent. Milliken said this includes the CAUV reduction for farm land and woodlands, but CAUV rates are determined by the state.

Property owners are able to look up their new values at the auditor’s office website, and one resident already called to complain that while his value increased, a neighbor’s did not. Milliken said that is often an inexact way to make a comparison because your neighbor’s house may be smaller/larger, have more or less bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.

“If you just go to the website and compare your property to your neighbor’s you have to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples,” she said.

Mistakes are sometimes made in regard to square footage, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, etc., and Milliken invited anyone with those types of complaints to stop by the office with proof so the correction can be made. But anyone wanting to dispute the value must file an appeal with the county board of revision.

Milliken said property owners — residential and commercial –are required by law to report new construction on their property, and the appraisal was able to find $19.6 million in new construction. “That’s more tax dollars for school districts and communities,” she said.

The appraisal was performed by John G. Cleminghsaw Inc. for $893,000, which is $137,000 under budget.