Butler Co. auditor appeals state decision on property values again

Butler Co. auditor appeals state decision on property values again

BUTLER CO., Ohio (FOX19) - Property values across the state of Ohio were set to increase this year, but one Ohio county official says the state wants to bump those values up too much.

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds says property values in this area should go up 13 or 14%. The state is asking him to make it 20%.

For the third time, Reynolds is pushing back against the state’s desire to see his property assessments go higher than his recommendation.

“Unfortunately, this time around the state seems to be changing the rules on us,” explains Reynolds.

The past few times Reynolds has gone through this process he has looked at data from the last three years. Reynolds says the state now wants him to use numbers from just the past year.

“The state took my final numbers and they rejected my final numbers,” says Reynolds. “And my next opportunity in the process is to appeal.”

Amid a pandemic when budgets are already tight for many, this could cost homeowners more.

For example, a 20% jump would cost those in Hamilton about another $50 a year for the schools if they own a $200,000 home.

“What the next step would be is some type of legislative change,” says Reynolds. “I can tell you, what I feel here in Butler County and across the state is there’s way too much overreach out of Columbus right now.”

While the appeal process is ongoing, the county reverts to the numbers Reynolds submitted originally.

“Not only is the Tax Commissioner’s Office doing basically a thumb on the scale for Butler County they’re doing it all across the state,” explains Reynolds.

FOX19 NOW reached out to the state Tax Commissioner’s Office for comment and received this statement:

“The Ohio Constitution itself requires real property to be valued at its true value in money for the purpose of taxation. Ohio statutory law further charges the Tax Commissioner with the duty to ensure that standard is met in all Ohio counties. Deviating from that standard would require extensive changes to the law, likely including a Constitutional amendment. While we understand Mr. Reynolds’ concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the economy, no information has been offered to demonstrate it has affected housing values, which leaves the Department with no choice but to discharge its duty under the law.

For some additional current perspective, all the other 40 counties in Ohio going through the valuation process this cycle have completed this requirement, including those with increases similar to those stipulated by the Tax Commissioner for Butler County.”

If this appeal doesn’t stick, Reynolds says he will go to state legislatures.

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