Lucas County property values increasing, school districts challenging taxes

Lucas County property values increasing, school districts challenging taxes

SYLVANIA, OH (WTOL) - Hundreds of property owners in Lucas County received a letter in the mail stating their school district will be making them pay higher property taxes.

Dan McQuillen of the Danberry Company has been hearing it from his realtors. He says their clients who just bought homes are now being faced with higher property taxes than the clients planned.

"What it would do to this couple, in particular, it would raise their payment about $200 a month," McQuillen said.

McQuillen says home values are being driven up because there are not a lot of homes for sale. That means prices are going up.

As a result, the numbers the auditor's office has are lower.

School districts, who rely on property taxes in part for funding, want those numbers to be higher, but that evaluation will not take place until next year.

"Every three years, we issue new values," explained Lucas County Auditor, Anita Lopez.

Lopez says the challenges are coming from everywhere, but in particular Sylvania Schools. She says she has seen a ten-fold increase in the number of challenges on residential properties from 24 in 2015 to 209 in 2016.

Lopez is asking districts to wait just one more year when it is time to do those evaluations. She says the districts aren't suffering and they have enough money right now.

"They recently just passed an $8 million levy. That should be enough to hold them over," Lopez said. "This is setting a terrible tone for our community and anyone who is considering buying property in Sylvania."

Lopez says she has put the cases on hold, hoping school districts will d rop them.

Sylvania Schools released the following statement on the matter:

The Ohio Revised Code grants school districts in Ohio the right to file Board of Revision Complaints to ensure that real property within its district is appropriately valued and taxed.  Most school districts in Lucas County take advantage of this opportunity.  Any complaint filed by a school district does not however automatically increase the value of the property.  The ultimate decision regarding value is made by the Lucas County Board of Revision.  It should also be remembered that the majority of complaints filed with the Lucas County Board of Revision involve property owners requesting a decrease in their property valuation, often based on a purchase of the property for an amount less than the Lucas County Auditor's current value.

Meanwhile, McQuillen is preparing homeowners to brace themselves.

"Be prepared for an increase, and set some money aside," McQuillen said.

Residents may win the challenges against the district for now, but taxes will go up next year.

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