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Thousands of Ohioans stunned by property tax bills

Why it is up so much, and what you can do
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Posted at 8:31 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:24:20-05

BULTER COUNTY — Homeowners across Ohio are receiving letters from their county alerting them to a big increase in their home values -- and taxes.

Some are wondering how they are going to pay those bills.

Larry Dienger loves his West Chester home of more than 25 years.

But he wonders how much longer he can stay, with property values and taxes soaring.

"My home value, percentage increase, went up 36.5 percent from the value the previous year," he said. "That's outrageous!"

Dienger's taxes are going up $900 a year.

He worries more, though, about retirees near him.

"You are going to see a lot of defaults and a lot of people not being able to pay their taxes," he said. "And a lot of foreclosures."

A few weeks back, we reported on sticker shock in Hamilton County, where the average home value is up 14 percent (similar to Butler County's average).

Counties are following Ohio law

So, who can you blame for this?

Ohio law, passed by your elected legislators.

Every three years, under the law, counties must reassess property values based on the most recent home sales. And recent home sale prices have been breaking records, nationwide.

Other states, including Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, have rolling reassessments, primarily when the home sells, so the jump in values is not as dramatic for owners.

But Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix says even if your valuation is up 20 percent, that doesn't mean your taxes will rise the same 20 percent.

"The taxes do not go up proportional to the values going up," she said.

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes told us in a December report that even if your home goes up 20 percent in valuation, your taxes may go up just 2 or 3 percent, since schools cannot profit off of valuation increases.

Nix says the high tax increases in several Butler County communities in 2021 are primarily levy-based: West Chester is adding police and fire levies, while Hamilton has added a road levy on top of everything, for instance.

"Mainly the areas of Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester (which had levies pass) are where we are getting the majority of complaints," Nix said. "We had two thousand calls last week."

What you can do

So how can you fight your new valuation?

  • File an appeal by March 31st.
  • You can also request a payment plan to spread out your bi-annual payments.
  • Pay taxes through your mortgage holder, so you just pay a small amount each month.

Dienger says it's great to know that he could sell his home for much more now, but that doesn't help.

"It's crazy right now. It’s a seller's market," he said. "I don’t want to sell my house. I love my house."

Many others would like to stay, but say it will be difficult.

Butler County received 50 letters disputing the new values in just the first few days, and is preparing for hundreds more.

As always, don’t waste your money.

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Don't Waste Your Money

8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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