Board of Review deliberates on property value complaints | Local News
JEFFERSON — Members of the Ashtabula County Board of Review (BOR) had a slow first day of deliberations Tuesday as they considered 15 cases of landowners appealing their property values.
“We have an all-time high, at least in the last eight years, of BOR filings with just 85 filed for the 2021 tax year,” County Auditor David Thomas said. “I think it’s a testament to the strength of the real estate market and our education efforts last year during the mass revaluation.”
Council members include Thomas, County Treasurer Angie Maki-Cliff and County Commissioner JP Ducro. The CA hears value complaints for several reasons, including changes in property condition, recent sales, reinstatement of CAUV, and other indicators of property value.
The auditor’s office held an online training session and reached out to ratepayers before the March 31 deadline to ensure as many residents as possible were aware of the ability to dispute property values, Thomas said.
The first round of deliberations included various complaints, with requests for change in value, CAUV reinstatements and the restoration of the non-professional tax credit. The average number of complaints varies depending on the market and changes, but Thomas said his office received less than a quarter of the normal amount.
“Our real estate market has really never been stronger, values based on sale prices have increased enormously since the last revaluation in 2014,” he said. “So we anticipated a high BOR volume, but I was surprised by the low number of deposits.”
Thomas attributes the low number of BOR complaints to a number of factors, including resident awareness, a heavy focus on informal changes before values are finalized in 2021, and a growing real estate market with the COVID boom driving values and higher selling prices.
In 2021, the Auditor’s Office sent over 40,000 postcards to residential properties for the first time in Ashtabula County following a reassessment. These postcards included a way for owners to use an online portal to request the reason for their value changes and file an informal change request.
“I believe this effort helped catch errors and value issues before people got their bills last year or this year, which dramatically reduced the time and energy it took for taxpayers to file claims. complaints,” Thomas said.
The Board has also moved to a virtual option for residents and is settling 80% or more of cases outside of a hearing.
“We wanted to make this process as user-friendly as possible. Zoom is a great way to help with that, and flexible scheduling is good too,” he said. “We don’t want to bother people who just want to dispute the value of their property.”
Thomas warns that the BOR process does not consider taxes, but rather property values.
“Taxes have many components,” he said. “If people accept their value, but don’t like their tax amount or are frustrated with their tax change, we may be able to help them in other ways, but BOR would not be the right place for them. .”