I’ve heard complaints from homeowners in both Erie County and Lorain County that tax appraisal valuations have kept increasing recently even though the bottom has been falling out of the northern Ohio housing market since 2000.
I think it’s worth noting that County Auditors will be up for election in 2010, and it’s not too early for challengers to launch campaigns and start raising money. Just fill out a Designation of Treasurer form for your campaign committee and submit it to the Board of Elections, as I’ve written about in this blog entry, and you’ll have the greenlight to start raising campaign funds. You won’t have to worry about circulating petitions until the beginning of next year. In my opinion, both Erie County Auditor Tom Paul and Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart are tyrants that ought to be replaced by voters.
I understand that the property valuation should be a rolling average of at least the past three years, so perhaps there might be a little bit of a lag between what the market value drops to and what the tax valuation drops to, but I’m hearing complaints that tax valuations in the two counties keep creeping UP, not down. I’ve seen tax valuations for properties that are higher than the selling price ever was and higher than the marketplace could ever sustain. Such practices amount to nothing short of a money grab by county government, specifically, the County Auditors’ offices. Some politicians don’t respect the citizens enough to put tax increase proposals on the ballot, and some even ignore the citizens after they have voted down tax increases, and they use these ever-upward-creeping assessed property values to artificially inflate tax revenues. Meanwhile, it’s no secret that REAL market values for homes have been plummeting for eight or nine years now, and assessed values should have been dropping downward to reflect that dynamic.
So what should you do beyond vote out these tax-grabbing county auditors?
That Woman’s Weblog has an excellent article on this very topic. It is possible for you to request an appeal of your home’s tax appraisal valuation. Please check it out and follow up. Don’t let yourself be a victim of artificially inflated tax appraisal valuations.