The National Weather Service in Wilmington has extended the * Flood Warning for
Auglaize County in west central Ohio... * Until 1245 PM EDT Monday. * At 1219 PM EDT, local law enforcement reported that several roads remain closed due to high water.
Today 60° Today 60° 43° 43° Tomorrow 62° Tomorrow 62° slight chance 52° 52° slight chance
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Property values down slightly

Preliminary figure set at $1.099B

By William Kincaid
MERCER COUNTY - Preliminary revaluation results shows the assessed value of all Mercer County properties, roughly 29,000 parcels, reduced slightly to $1.099 billion this year compared with $1.10 billion in 2016.
The big news emerging from the report, which should be finalized in October, though, is the dramatic reduction of agricultural property assessments and the moderate increase in residential assessments. Residential assessed values were higher in southern Mercer County.
County auditor Randy Grapner's office contracted with Appraisal Research Corp. of Findlay to conduct the on-site appraisals using statistical analysis. Appraisers were guided by three approaches - cost to create, sales comparisons and income.
Revaluations using on-site appraisals are undertaken every six years in the county, he said. The department will use the new values to recalculate property taxes.
Countywide, total cropland assessed values dropped 29.09 percent while total woodlands went down 37.19 percent from the previous year's. On the flip side, residential assessed valuation properties climbed 6.45 percent countywide.
Farmers are finally seeing some much-needed tax relief, Grapner said.
"Depending on their taxing district, the value of their dirt, overall - this is countywide - is going down 29.09 percent. Their taxes are going to be less," Grapner told the newspaper.  
The state formula applied by Grapner's office to calculate farmland values - the Current Agricultural Use Value - allows farmers to have their croplands and woodlands taxed according to ag value rather than full-market value. Most other properties, though, are assessed at 35 percent of market value.
The CAUV formula was adopted by the Ohio General Assembly in 1974 and is based on several factors such as yields, crop prices and soil types. Sixty-five different types of soil are in Mercer County.
CAUV is an income approach to valuation and takes into account the productivity of soil, price per bushel and cropping patterns, Grapner explained.
"2014 was the most expensive year ever, (when) our values went up. We were as high as any price per acre in CAUV value (that) could be in that rotation that particular year of 2014," Grapner said.
He said the state has changed the formula in a way that benefits famers who have faced high property taxes in recent years.
"We have a change in the formula," he said. "Farm Bureau has fought hard on behalf of the famers. The farming community and lots of different organizations have taken part in this to try to keep the CAUV values down. They see the benefit of our farming community raising crops."
Yet when agricultural assessed values come down, residential assessed values usually go up to account for the loss so school and other levies continue to collect the same amount of money, chief deputy of real estate Sara Scott said.
"Residential's going to be picking up the loss in value for the ag," she said.
Assessed residential values countywide varied, with some political subdivisions seeing a reduction of 1.87 and others seeing an increase of 15.75.
"We look at the past full three years of valid sales. We compare those to what the auditor has the value of the property on currently," Scott said. "Especially in the southern part of the county, homes are selling for a lot higher than what we have them appraised for. Therefore that's why we're seeing the 14-, 15-percent (increases), mainly in St. Henry, Coldwater areas."
"We get St. Henry school district at 15.75 (percent increase) in given areas, different neighborhoods," he said.
"We know, for example, in St. Henry you've got your older homes and you've got your great big new ones," Scott pointed out. "So they're not all going up and down exactly like the 15 percent. It depends on the market area of that pocket."
With a full revaluation, appraisers go out and inspect homes, Grapner said.
"They actually go out. They sit in front your house. They take a look at your buildings, sometimes walk around your house," he said, adding new photos were taken. "We are looking at aerial imagery to see whether or not there are new additions being put on houses."
Scott said the office overlays the property card footprint onto the new aerial photographs to discern new construction or additions.
Grapner and Scott also compared by school districts the overall assessed values' changes from 2016 to 2017 of agriculture, residential, commercial and industrial properties, which vary based on homes' market values and primary use of land. Again, these preliminary results will be finalized in October.
While the Coldwater Exempted Village Schools District overall assessed valuation increased by $7.8 million to $171.55 million, resulting in an additional $257,277 in estimated tax dollars, the Parkway Local School District's overall assessed valuation decreased $17.19 million to $147.2 million, resulting in a loss of $456,849 in estimated tax dollars according to preliminary results.
"Parkway school district doesn't really have the big residential homes," Scott said, pointing out it's a heavily agricultural district. "That's where the residential's going to be picking it up."
Other new school district assessed values, based on preliminary results, are,
• Celina - $432.86 million, a loss of nearly $4.3 million
• Fort Recovery - $109.4 million, a loss of $378,480
• Marion Local - $97.5 million, a loss of $466,220
• St. Henry - $136.7 million, an increase of nearly $4.96 million
Property value estimates can be found on the auditor's website at: or by calling the office at 419-586-6402.
Property owners can contest their prospective values by requesting an online or in-person informal review with the auditor's office.
The online informal review is available Sept. 1-30 and can be found at http://mercercounty.propertyre The site also provides frequently asked questions and a response form to ask questions or share concerns about a property's valuation.
In-person informal reviews will be offered at the office from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 20-21.
Property owners who remain unsatisfied can request a hearing with the county's board of revision consisting of the county auditor, county treasurer and a county commissioner.
If still unresolved, the complaint can be taken to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and even the Ohio Supreme Court, Grapner said.

Change in Mercer County Property Valuation 2016-2017:

Agricultural Residential Industrial Commercial Total Change % Change
Coldwater -$6,451,060 $13,300,470 $86,270 $866,750 $7,802,430 4.55%
St Henry -$6,286,700 $10,575,180 -$49,580 $716,140 $4,955,040 3.62%
Fort Recovery* -$7,270,910 $5,859,880 $729,210 $303,340 -$378,480 -0.35%
Marion Local* -$6,984,260 $6,049,340 $291,160 $177,540 -$466,220 -0.48%
Celina -$19,251,730 $8,162,790 $4,293,250 $2,470,830 -$4,296,860† -0.99%
Parkway* -$23,128,140 $5,370,010 $92,610 $471,360 -$17,194,160 -11.68%
Total -$69,372,800 $49,317,670 $5,442,920 $5,005,960 -$9,578,250 -0.87%

* These districts extend into other counties
† Includes 28,000 Pupp
Additional online story on this date
MONTEZUMA - Firefighters freed a St. Marys woman after her vehicle entered Grand Lake early Monday morning near Windy Point.
A fisherman at a nearby channel reported seeing a Dodge sedan enter the water, Montezuma Fire Chief Ron Schulze said. [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
Minster man dies in crash
Home sweet home
Cardinals stay perfect with win over Tigers
Moyer tunes up for World 100 with Baltes Classic victory