Butler County leaders in Columbus urging 42% property value hike be slashed

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

The clock is ticking on legislation to cut down the average 42% property value hike in Butler County, and multiple local leaders are in Columbus today to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Commissioner Don Dixon — who spearheaded the protest — Auditor Nancy Nix, Sheriff Richard K. Jones and Middletown Vice Mayor Monica Nenni, among others, are scheduled to give proponent testimony this afternoon on House Bill 187. The bill introduced by Rep. Thomas Hall mandates the state tax commissioner give equal weight to property sales in the Triennial property value update, which would shrink the average value hike from 42% to 25%.

Jones will testify about fears the number of foreclosed homes and sheriff’s sale will rise if the enormous value hikes go through. To say people are furious is an understatement he said in a document on the legislative website.

“This isn’t a secret when I tell you people are upset. I’m hearing anger and frustration from people that I would never expect it. Many of whom are still trying to deal with rising food prices and the previous property tax increase just a short while ago,” Jones wrote. “This situation has the potential to devastate our community and I don’t want to have local law enforcement have to be the ones to pick up the pieces.”

Dixon issued a “call to action” a couple months ago to discuss strategies to fight the increase and state legislators and local leaders have attended two summits on the issue. Hall introduced the bill that mirrors language Sen. George Lang inserted as an amendment to the Senate budget.

Hall told the Journal-News there will hopefully be a second hearing next week for opponent testimony.

“I’ve seen some letters going around from different Democratic auditors that are against it,” Hall said. “I really look forward to finding out why they’re against it, they don’t want to change the process, they think the one year is sufficient and everything is going smoothly.”

The state budget must pass by June 30 and he said they’ll know by next Tuesday or Wednesday if the measure survived.

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