Nix sits on the BOR and she doesn’t believe tax collections will be impacted much.
“BOR wasn’t materially impactful this year. We heard more cases this year than in the past couple of years due to the reappraisal, but in the cases I attended, we usually kept the auditor value,” Nix said. “The auditor value is already an average of 8% lower than market values, so most taxpayers contesting didn’t have enough evidence to justify a decrease, according to the board.”
Nix said she might have to rebill the four taxing districts Reynolds is challenging with the state, depending on the outcome of the hearing with state board of tax appeals.
Reynolds is appealing the values for Fairfield, Hamilton and Fairfield and West Chester townships, the tax commissioner didn’t quibble with his values for the remainder of the county.
“They agreed to those and we used the same calculations, formulas across the whole county,” Reynolds said. “It’s just the way the state did their calculations, we could come to an agreement on those (jurisdictions) they wanted those areas to go up more.”
Reynolds said the hearing with the state board of tax appeals has been delayed to Oct. 13, it was originally set for this month.
The total property tax distribution for county government is not yet available, but the first half collection was $8.8 million as of the end of July, which is $1.3 million more than a year ago. Other collections pertaining to real estate are also continuing to increase. Property transfer taxes are up to $4.5 million, a $1.3 million year-to-date hike and recorder’s fees are up $373,769 for a total of $1.3 million.
All general fund revenues combined totaled $73.5 million so far this year, which is $10.6 million over the same time last year. The largest contributor is sales tax which is up 18.4% or $4.6 million. The sales tax income for August was $4.6 million. There is $89 million unencumbered cash in reserves.
As a CPA, Reynolds said the economy, especially in the real estate realm, is the best he has seen since he took office in 2008, and the county coffers are reaping the benefits.
“It’s the strongest that I’ve seen since I’ve been in office,” Reynolds said. “The only concern of a strong economy is you don’t get used to it because there’s always going to be ups and downs. I think the county is always going to continue to position ourselves so that we can continue good services when the economy does soften.”
Next month the commissioners will hold budget hearings with other office holders, department heads and independent boards to craft the 2022 spending plan. They passed a $106.7 million general fund tax budget in July which is well below projected revenues of $113.3 million. The county expects to begin the year with $112.8 million in carryover.
The commissioners asked everyone to hold expenses to 2019 actual spending, but County Administrator Judi Boyko said few strictly followed that directive. General fund expenses in 2019 totaled $100.4 million.
“The commissioners are committed to structurally balanced budgets,” Boyko told the Journal-News about the upcoming hearings. “Not just in this calendar year but subsequent years to come, being mindful when revenue sources are stable does not preclude us from being fiscally responsible in preparation for potential downturns.”