Elyria’s Chronicle-Telegram has a story of dropping property values in Lorain County. What’s newsworthy about that? Anyone who knows anything about the real estate market in Lorain County knows that market values have been down for several years. What makes it newsworthy is that county government is finally acknowledging the falling property values in assessing property taxes.
Of course, Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo is desperately trying to urge for support of Issue 4, a sales tax increase, by calling attention to the projected decline in property taxes. Ahem! Households have seen falling revenues, particularly through the softening of the labor market, so, like households are in a dither what to do and having to make cuts, county government will have to do the same.
For the record, Buckeye RINO opposes Lorain County’s Issue 4.
Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart made the announcement of a 6% drop in property values on Friday. I don’t remember a similar announcement from the auditor’s office in prior years. In fact, my own experience with Lorain County real estate has been that tax appraisals and market values were going in divergent directions–market values declining while tax appraisals continued to be bumped upward. My experience with Erie County real estate was the same. I’ve already blogged about the phenomenon, asserting that challengers need to be recruited to campaign in 2010 against re-election bids by Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart and Erie County Auditor Tom Paul.
Yet even after I blogged that Stewart needs to be replaced for inflating tax appraisals, I still saw evidence that Stewart was doing his own thing and ignoring what was going on in the markets.
Huron County Commissioners, by contrast, showed some integrity when they reviewed tax appraisals in Huron County. According to a story in the Norwalk Reflector, they had some pointed questions for Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach about perceived irregularities, and it appears that Tkach is heeding the advice of commissioners. County auditors are up for election in 2010, so perhaps Tkach knows that perceived irregularities could have negative political ramifications.
I think perhaps Mark Stewart caught wind of the Huron County story and decided he might possibly face a stiff electoral challenge next year if he continued his robber-baron ways. That’s my hunch about Friday’s announcement.
Nevertheless, I really don’t think a leopard changes its spots. I’m still fairly convinced that voters need to give Mark Stewart the heave-ho in next year’s elections.