Anthony Wayne schools challenging property values, could up taxes by thousands

WATERVILLE, OH (WTOL) - Around 60 families received a letter in the mail from the Anthony Wayne school district saying leaders are challenging what their homes are worth.

With a booming housing market, this could put these families out $1,000 a year. The last time the Lucas County Auditor's office reappraised homes was in 2015, when the market wasn't doing as well.

Anthony Wayne, like other districts, have done this in the past. Most recently, last year, the district d ropped the complaints after getting that suggestion from Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez.

The difference this year is neighbors are paying even more for homes because the inventory of houses for sale just isn't there.

"The taxes that they are asking us to pay are huge and so that's where the frustration and outcry is coming from, because people are like what am I going to do? I can't afford this," said Renee, a mom of four in the district.

For Renee, it could be around a 56 percent hike to her property taxes, translating to $350 a month or $4,000 dollars a year.

"There is a huge discrepancy between assessed values and purchase price and people like myself don't understand how it's going to impact them and they have no idea that the school board has the right to do this," said Renee.

She said from the neighbors she's talked to, the percentages are all over the board.

"It's unfair and it's a hardship and we don't want to be forced out of our home, we want to support the schools, we want to support the community, but we can't handle this hardship," said Renee.

AW School District leaders say the board hasn't had a chance to meet on this, and they plan on listening to taxpayer concerns at the school board meeting on Monday.

"We don't really have a stance on it yet, we're going to listen and then take that into consideration and work with the county auditor's office to try and reach a resolution that's fair to all taxpayers," said Kerri Johnson, the AW treasurer.

School leaders admit what they've done in the past may not work now. School districts across Ohio can do this, and have.

Some families weren't aware this was in the Ohio Revised Code.

"I guess somewhere in there we didn't know what questions to ask, and if you don't know what to ask and you don't ask the right question then you don't get the right answer," said Renee.

"One of the taxpayers that I talked to was very upset that she had asked her realtor directly, are we looking at any new taxes? Is the school going to be on the ballot? And she was told no, so she was upset with that," said Johnson.

One realtor, Drew Stansley from ReMax said to make sure your agent is knowledgeable about the area where you are buying. Many school districts in Ohio do take advantage of this law, and it's good to know what the cost could be if that is the case.

Stansley said it is a different ballgame now with less inventory in the housing market, homes are going for higher prices, so the difference between what is paid and the appraised value is larger.

"I'm suddenly in this home and now I can't afford it. You go through that whole process and the mortgage lending and they are making sure you can afford what you are buying and all of a sudden you're slapped with a huge tax bill and you can't afford what you bought," said Renee.

Every three years the Auditor's office reassess your property value, which is happening in 2018. Most of the time this is a mass appraisal valuing homes in an area, having a set rate per square foot and then valuing them based on the size.

Renee worries about this impacting her ability to sell her home in the future. Stansley said that will depend on the buyer, and what they are looking for.

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