Tri-State senator proposes changing how Ohio’s property values are reassessed ahead of drastic hike

Property owners in Butler and Clermont counties could see unprecedented property tax increases...
Property owners in Butler and Clermont counties could see unprecedented property tax increases next year if The Ohio Department of Taxation gets its way.(Atlanta News First)
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 8:07 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Property owners in Butler and Clermont counties could see unprecedented property tax increases next year if The Ohio Department of Taxation gets its way.

Butler County’s will shoot up by a projected 42% the board will recommend as part of a state-mandated property reappraisal, county records show.

Landowners of property zoned agricultural were going to be hit with a whopping 110% rise.

“If you were not shocked, you aren’t paying taxes!” Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said Wednesday.

Value change recommendations were recently sent to 12 other counties in Ohio and the combined average increase sought was 34 percent, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office.

Besides Butler, only two other counties were recommended to increase by 40 percent or more: Clermont (43) and Knox (40).

County auditors are required by law to conduct a full reappraisal of real property every six years and then update values (reappraisal) in the third year.

State Senator George Lang, R-West Chester Township, Gmoser and other state and local elected leaders, however, object to the way the state tax commissioner is calculating the property value adjustments.

They want to require her to use three years, not one, of sales data when deciding sales ratio percentages

On Wednesday, Lang introduced a proposed amendment to the state’s budget bill to do just that.

Butler County Auditor Nancy Nix recently said during a public meeting over the problem “that any real ‘fix’ must come from the state legislature or a change to Ohio’s constitution.

“Every part of the equation should be scrutinized, not just values, which the county has been battling for years,” Nix said.

Lang and Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon tell FOX19 NOW they were both livid when they saw the proposed numbers.

Equally outraged, Gmoser helped word the proposed legislation.

“It appears there may be a solution to lower the 42 percent real estate tax increase proposed by the state,” Dixon said.

“Thanks to George Lang and our legislators there has been an amendment submitted to require the state tax commissioner to average three years of sales data instead of just using one year to determine our new rate.

“If this becomes effective our tax rate should be approximately 24 % instead of 42%…. this will make the tax bills less for next year. The commissioners are happy with this temporary fix and are working for a longer-term solution.”

“I will always put Butler County businesses and citizens ahead of the Department of Taxation,” Lang said.

The proposed amendment to the state’s budget bill will be reviewed in the Senate’s finance committee.

It will have a full Senate floor vote on June 15, according to Lang.

Former Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds, who was forced to step down due to a felony public corruption-related conviction, started sounding the alarm over how property taxes were being calculated years ago.

During the last state-mandated reappraisal, in 2020, all 165,000 Butler County parcels were reassessed and the state ordered an average 20% increase.

Reynolds called the process flawed and eventually suggested the very solution Lang just proposed.

Reynolds also filed what turned out to be an ill-fated appeal over the 2020 property tax hikes for some communities in Butler County including West Chester and Fairfield Townships.

He lost the appeal. Residents still had to pay the increased property taxes and some had back taxes even on property they did not own at the time but had since purchased.

“Reynolds saw it,” Gmoser said, “but because of the tax commissioner’s discretion, he could not win.”

FOX19 NOW sent a copy of Lang’s proposal to the Ohio Department of Taxation and requested a comment.

“We need to review this amendment before we can provide feedback to Sen. Lang,” the department’s spokesman, Gary Gudmundson, responded.

“The Department stands ready to collaborate on any legislative proposal(s) that would direct the Tax Commissioner to deviate from the long-standing statutory methodology of valuing real property.”

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