Property owners in Franklin County will receive a letter from me during the week of August 21 informing them of the 2011 Reappraisal “tentative value” for their property.
The word “tentative” above is important to note. Property values will not be finalized until later this fall. During September, each property owner in Franklin County will have the opportunity to sit down with a qualified appraiser in a one-on-one setting at an Informal Value Review. All owners are welcome to attend to offer supporting information to justify a different value or for those who are merely curious to inquire about the process.
While it is almost un-American for property values to decline, we are anticipating an average reduction in residential values in excess of six percent countywide. Never before have we seen a decline like this in Franklin County. Certain pockets of the county will see a rise in residential values but the majority of the more than 373,000 residential properties in the county will see a decrease.
The decline in residential values also has a substantial impact on taxing jurisdictions. Most school districts receive a sizable amount of their funding from property taxes. With a decline in value, some levies that were passed in recent years will not generate the same amount of money initially anticipated. School districts, municipalities and other government agencies will have to determine how to cope with reduced revenues.
A common misconception is property taxes decrease in the same percentage as the property value decreases. Ohio passed House Bill 920 in 1976. The law protects homeowners from large tax increases when property values are rising and, to a certain extent, protects taxing jurisdictions when values are decreasing. Just as our property tax bills have not risen at the same rate that property values have increased in the past, homeowners in Franklin County will not receive a significant tax break because House Bill 920 protects governmental entities from losing a significant amount of tax revenue on older levies when property value declines.
To establish the new property value, the appraisal process is utilized. There is a science behind this process. The property’s value is not arbitrarily assigned but rather is established by the certified appraiser’s analysis of the actions of property buyers and sellers.
For the past two years, the Franklin County Auditor’s Office has also been employing state-of-the-art technology to gain the best information and analysis to assist in the completion of the 2011 Reappraisal. The new technology features aerial photography and a sophisticated mapping program allowing for a far more efficient expenditure of tax-payers dollars. This technology is estimated to have saved taxpayers $1.5 million.
Ohio Revised Code requires that county auditors revalue all real property once every six years and update values in a triennial update in the third year following each reappraisal. Franklin County property was last reappraised for tax year 2005. During the triennial update in 2008, due to market conditions, the majority of residential properties received no value changes. The Informal Reviews will be an opportunity for taxpayers to have input into their value before tax bills are calculated. We will not be able to calculate new tax bills until after the new tax rates are certified from the State of Ohio in late 2011. The taxes based on the new values will be payable in January and June of 2012.
I encourage you to visit our web site at www.FranklinCountyAuditor.com, call our office with any questions at 614-525-HOME (4463), or email me at ClarenceMingo@franklincountyohio.gov. We will extend our office hours until 9 p.m. from August 24 through October 3. You also are invited to tweet questions to our office at @FC_Auditor or to me personally at @ClarenceMingo.
My staff and I look forward to helping the residents of Franklin County gain a better understanding of the 2011 Reappraisal during the coming weeks and months.