EATON — Preble County Auditor Lavon Wright has issued an open letter to county residents in advance of several outreach meetings planned in September and October to discuss increasing property values.
“I hope that many of you are already aware of, and have heard, that property values are increasing in Preble County for taxes paid in February 2024,” Wright began. “The State of Ohio requires the County Auditor to revalue property every 3 years in some fashion. The State Department of Taxation expectscounty auditors to value property around 92-95 percent of a property’s market value. In 2020 the average sell price in Preble County was $166,428 and in 2022 the average sell price was $235,465. That is a 41 percent increase in a short couple of years. Although we do not expect most properties to have increases of this amount, some properties will have significant increases. Depending on what the property was originally valued at, will determine how much your value had to be increased to meet the State Department of Taxation’s expectations of at least 92-95 percent.”
She continued, “Agricultural land that is enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program (CAUV) is valued by soil type and those values are determined by the State Department of Taxation. Some of these properties are seeing increases of 100-120 percent in land value. Since 2014 soil values have declined in value from $1,668 per acre in Ohio down to $585 per acre in 2020. That is now increasing to $1,443 per acre. That is an average increase of 146 percent to soil values in Ohio. The more productive soils will see higher increases than lower productive soils. The State uses a formula that takes information over the last 7 years provided from the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Services, and the Ohio State University. The highs and lows are thrown out of the 7-year average.
“Data shows that since 2016 crop prices in corn increased from $3.61 to $6.45, soybeans increased from $9.66 to $14.40, and wheat increased from $4.25 to $ 7.95. Average crop yields have also increased in corn from 162.3 to 174.1 bushels an acre, Soybeans from 50.2 to 52.9 bushels an acre, and Wheat from 68.2 to 73.1 bushels an acre. This along with low interest rates have caused the values to increase significantly. No data is collected or analyzed at the local level. The average cost per acre for farm ground in Ohio is over $7,200 per acre while the average CAUV value is $1,443 per acre. So, while CAUV values have increased significantly it remains the best program for farmers, and is still a pretty good deal. The County Auditor and County Board of Revision have no authority to adjust soil values for CAUV. As stated, they are ordered by the Ohio Department of Taxation.”
Wright continued, “Real estate tax bills contain two components, referred to as inside millage and outside millage, or sometimes unvoted and voted millage. The inside millage, or unvoted millage, is apportioned between local government entities (county, township, city or village, school district) and can not exceed 10 mills. The county has 2.80 mills, and townships range from 1.20 mills to 3.80 mills (depending on which township,) city and villages range from 1.20 mills to 3.80 mills (depending on which city or village you live in, and excluding West Alexandria village as they have no inside millage,) and schools range from 3.40 mills to 5.50 mills (depending on which school district your property resides in.) For example: In Lanier Township, Twin Valley South School District the full tax rate is 55.180 mills but the effective tax rate that is used to calculate taxes has been reduced down to 38.7721764 mills for tax year 2022. This is due to the value of this taxing district being increased over the years.
“Established in 1972, the state created a 20-mill floor rule for school funding — this is a protected amount of outside millage that can never be decreased. This is so schools have a built-in mechanism to keep up with inflation. This amount of millage depends on what their inside millage is. For this example, Twin Valley School District has 4.40 mills of inside millage and 15.60 mills of protected outside millage. So out of the 38.721764 effective tax rate for the district only 24.50 mills will be taxed at the new value. (20 mills to the school, 2.80 mills to the county, and 1.70 mills to Lanier Township.) The remaining 14.221764 will be reduced and no additional revenue will be given to this millage.”
“All values for Preble County are available on the auditor’s website, www.preblecountyauditor.org. I have decided to have six outreach meetings outside of the normal business day to help ensure everyone is given the chance to review or question their new value,” Wright wrote. “People will be served on a first-come first-served basis. The six outreach meetings will be held at the following locations and times: Sept. 25, 6-8 p.m. at the Northwest Fire House; Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m., at the Camden Town Hall; Oct. 2, 6-8 p.m. at the Eaton Youth Center; Oct. 4, 6-8 p.m. at the West Alexandria Town Hall; Oct. 9, 6-8 p.m. at the Lewisburg Community Center, and Oct. 11, 6-8 p.m. at the Gasper Township Fire House.”
“Informal hearings (a time to meet with our appraisal company and auditor’s staff) to informally dispute your value will be the week of Oct. 23-27, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Auditor’s Office located in the Preble County Courthouse on the 2nd floor, 101 E Main St., Eaton,” Wright added.
“If you believe that the market value set for your property is higher than what the property is worth, you may file a DTE Form 1, Complaint Against Valuation of Real Property, and you will be given the opportunity to prove that our set value is incorrect,” Wright said. “The burden of proof will be on you to prove that the value is in fact incorrect. Complaints filed against a property being valued in the CAUV program will be denied at the county level as the county has no authority to adjust soil values. Although nothing can be done locally to act on your complaint, you may file an appeal to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals,” she noted.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.