August 30, 2014

Elyria
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Property values down; tax rates up

ELYRIA — Lorain County saw the value of its property drop by nearly $486.6 million between 2011 and 2012, according to Acting County Auditor Craig Snodgrass’ office, which will mean property taxes will change for virtually every property owner in the county.

The total value of all of the property in the county was roughly $6.644 billion in 2011, but dropped to around

$6.157 billion in 2012 based on an examination of property values that takes place every three years. That’s approximately an 8.2 percent decrease, Snodgrass said.

The new property taxes, which were posted to the auditor’s website this week, vary by community, school district and at times even between neighbors, Snodgrass said.

But there are a few generalities that can help property owners understand the reasons behind the changes to their tax bills.

“If value goes up, the rate goes down and inversely, if the value goes down, the rate goes up,” Snodgrass said.

That means that even in places such as Huntington Township, which saw no new taxes added by voters last year, property owners will see their rates change. That’s because, Snodgrass said, many of the levies that are already in place are guaranteed to take in the same amount of money every year.

In a typical re-evaluation where property values climbed that would generally mean the rates would go down, he said. But since the county has seen plunging property values in the past two re-evaluation cycles, the rates have typically gone up.

In Huntington Township, which falls within the Black River Schools district, the average property value fell by 4.24 percent, according to figures provided by the auditor’s office. In the Huntington Township tax district, one of 70 such tax districts in the county, that means the owner of a $100,000 home who saw the property value fall by the average rate will see taxes drop by $42.

For an Elyria city property owner who lives within the Elyria Schools district, values dropped by an average of 9.82 percent.

That means that a home that was valued at $100,000 in 2011 would now be valued at $90,180 if it sustained the average value drop and the property taxes will fall by $62.74.

In the same Elyria tax district, a home that lost less value than average would see an increase in taxes. If a different property was valued at $100,000 in 2011 and dropped to a value of $95,180, the owner would see his property taxes rise by $35.60.

If a property worth $100,000 in 2011 saw its value fall by more than average to a value of $85,180, the owner would see taxes fall by $161.08, according to Snodgrass’ figures.

For instance, Chief Deputy Auditor Linda Keys’ home in Elyria, was valued at $177,400 in 2011 and dropped in value to $170,960 in 2012, a decrease of 3.63 percent. Her taxes increased by $103.82.

Snodgrass, who lives in the area of Lorain serviced by Amherst Schools, saw the value of his home plunge from $303,200 in 2011 to $255,650 in 2012, a value drop of 17.05 percent. His taxes will decrease by $196.70 this year, he said.

Snodgrass’ property value loss was far higher than the average decrease of 11.06 percent in his tax district.

Homeowners in Lorain who fall into the Lorain Schools district, who passed a levy last year, saw their property values drop by an average of 17.6 percent.

That would mean a home with a market value of $100,000 in 2011 would now be worth $82,400 and the property owner would pay $14.81 more in taxes for 2012, Snodgrass’ figures show.

Snodgrass said because the figures can vary so wildly from property to property, it’s hard to make comments about the broader impact of the tax rate changes.

“It’s not one shoe fits all,” he said. “That’s the thing about a massive re-appraisal, we’re looking at every home.”

Despite the massive property value loss for the county, Snodgrass said he’s hopeful for the future based on what he’s seen of real estate transactions from the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

“Sale prices are starting to climb a bit, so that’s good news going forward,” he said.

Those who wish to challenge their property value — and by extension their tax rate — must do so with the county Board of Revision by April 1. Information about challenges and the property values and tax rates for every piece of the property in the county can be found on the auditors’ website at www.loraincounty.com/

auditor.

County Treasurer Dan Talarek said property owners should start receiving their tax bills by the week of Jan. 21 and those bills must be paid or postmarked by Feb. 15. Those that aren’t in on time will face a penalty of 10 percent.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.