Deadline expires to challenge debated Butler County property values: How many called?

The deadline has expired for Butler County property owners to challenge their reassessed values, and while there were a flurry of calls when tax bills hit mailboxes, the number of Board of Revision applications were normal for a reevaluation year.

The deadline was Wednesday, and Chief Deputy County Auditor Dawn Mills said officials received 773 applications to challenge property values as of the deadline, compared to 765 in 2018 after the 2017 reassessment. Last year, when values hadn’t been adjusted, the auditor’s office received only 178 hearing requests.

County Auditor Roger Reynolds said he thinks when people took a look at their new values they likely agreed with the reassessment, which was an average 14.5% hike. The highest increase was 32% in Lemon Twp., and the lowest was 10.1% in Morgan Twp.

“It’s been such a strong real estate market we feel just as we planned, that our values are conservative and we’re still in a strong real estate market,” Reynolds said. “So when people are looking at their values they’re saying well my value went up, well the real estate market up.”

Mills said Board of Revisions hearings should begin in mid-May. After the 2018 hearings she said 64% of the challenges resulted in a decreased value, while 13% were increased and 23% were unchanged.

ExploreButler County revenues up nearly 10% despite pandemic: How that’s happening

The deadline to pay the first half of property taxes was March 18, and county Treasurer Nancy Nix said her office has collected $304.3 million this year compared to $277.6 million a year ago, which was a a 9.6% increase. She said this was “highest real estate tax collection ever.”

“As far as collections go, there has been no noticeable increase in delinquencies,” Nix said. “In fact, our billings for first half increased 8% but our collections increased 9.62%, probably somewhat due to the continued federal government stimulus checks.”

Her office has begun dispersing the tax dollars to the various school districts, cities, townships and other taxing bodies.

The county property tax jump is due in part to the state-mandated 2020 property reassessment. All 165,000 Butler County parcels were reassessed last year and increases vary by neighborhood according to recent sales data. The state ordered an average 20% increase, and Reynolds is battling that amount on appeal.

Property in all counties is reappraised every six years, and property values are updated every third year. Butler County was among 13 Ohio counties required to reappraise last year.

Not everyone’s taxes increased because the values were adjusted, the biggest impact is where new levies were passed. Hamilton voters approved a new 3.9-mill road levy that will cost roughly $136 for a $100,000 home. St. Clair Twp. won an additional 3.5-mill continuing operating levy that will cost $103 a year for the owner of an average home there. West Chester Twp. voters approved two new 2-mill levies for police and fire. The owner of a $200,000 home will pay a little less than the estimate of $336.