Dear citizens, as your county auditor, I appreciate this opportunity to inform you of happenings that likely will have an impact on my fellow residents of Columbiana County.
Recently, I placed a notice in the newspaper informing the taxpayers that the new values for 2013 tax year, payable in 2014, are available for inspection in my office and on my website at www.columbianacntyauditor.org. Now that the "equalization" has been completed, you have the right to file an appeal if you have reason to believe that your property has been valued incorrectly. Forms to submit the complaint are available in my office at the county courthouse. You do not need an attorney to represent you and there is not cost for submission of the complaint. However, you do need to submit evidence supporting your value over ours.
Along those lines, my office has received several complaints from residents regarding a firm known as "Tax Compliance Services" offering to file a complaint on your behalf for a fee. Many of the complaints filed are using erroneous information, and there is a chance that no one will show to represent your at our hearing. Remember, you can represent yourself at no cost.
Regarding new values, I am pleased to announce that the county's residential values decreased by approximately 2.9 percent from last year's values. Of course, if you have made major changes to your home, the new construction might negate the value loss.
On the other hand, state mandated changes in CAUV values resulted in an average increase of 40 percent for those agricultural lands on the program. While a substantial increase in value, the program still provides a savings over non-CAUV values for participants. For those wishing to file a complaint, please be informed that my office has nothing to do with the valuations of CAUV property. Any complaints must be filed with the state of Ohio, since they determine such values.
Those owning industrial and/or commercial property likely will see no change in their values expect for new construction.
Regrettably, we are not yet able to tell you what your new taxes will be, since the state has not yet provided our effective rates. It is important to remember that a percentage change in value does not necessarily mean the same percentage change in taxes.
I think we all realize that the valuation process, and the many associated taxing issues, can be very confusing; however, I remain committed to trying to answer any concerns that you might have. Therefore, feel free to contact my office at any time, because I believe that an informed taxpayer, while they may not like what they hear, is better equipped to accept the evidence when understood by them.
In closing, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. If you see me out and about, please take the time to introduce yourself and ask any questions you might have.
Columbiana County Auditor