Property taxes

Were you surprised when you got your property tax bill last month? It has been on the news, in the newspaper and talked about for months.

I thought I was ready, but I have to admit I was surprised to see just how much. Our property value increased 61%, resulting in a property tax increase of 40.8%.

Ohio Revised Code requires counties to perform real estate reappraisals every six years and update values every three years. Trumbull County was one of the 28 counties across the state that was required to go through the six-year mass revaluation. This valuation process includes individual exterior review of every property along with sales and general market conditions.

There is a lot of helpful information on the Trumbull County Auditor’s website to help you understand what is going on, and I would encourage you to explore the site. Per the website, “The only goal of the Trumbull Auditor is to conduct the most fair and accurate assessment of property possible.”

When you visit the website, you can see details about your property and your tax history.

From the home page if you click on “Real Estate” you can access the “Know Your Home Value” tab. There will be several tabs for frequently asked questions. The last one is “Where does my property tax go?” Here you can see how much additional tax revenue each of the municipalities and school districts will be receiving in 2024. Even though the revaluation is not intended to increase or decrease taxes, it has.

The biggest portion of our property taxes goes to supporting our local school districts. I am all about education and agree that it takes a lot of money for buildings, buses, teachers, maintenance, etc. The 20 school districts listed will receive additional revenue over 2023 due to how the property tax system works and responds to changes in property value. How much additional revenue will be received varies, but in anticipation of this additional revenue, one local school district, Lakeview, withdrew its levy from the ballot.

I couldn’t help but think of House Bill 305 and retired state Rep. John Patterson. He, along with others, were very passionate about overhauling the state’s school funding system that the Ohio Supreme Court found unconstitutional four times since 1997. The 2019 bill passed in December 2020, but the battle to make a new way continued into 2021 with House Bill 1. The goal was to get away from reliance on property taxes to fund education. From the numbers I have been looking at, it looks as if property taxes are covering more than its fair share. I would love to have a conversation with John on this.

I’m sure that many of the schools are in need of these additional funds and will put them to good use. I still have a lot of questions and am thankful that Martha Yoder, Trumbull County auditor, is approachable and willing to discuss this issue with everyone she comes in contact with. Will property values decrease in three years when the property values are updated? Time will tell.

Submitted by Mary Smallsreed, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau, who grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.


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