County sets final property tax values; owners can dispute valuations

State told Montgomery County to double average percentage increase of residential values.

Montgomery County residential property owners can now go online to find the final tax value of their homes — and a vast majority will find their values higher than tentative values sent over the summer due to a state-ordered increase. But owners have until March 31 to dispute the new values.

Following a 2020 reappraisal, the Ohio Department of Taxation rejected the county’s calculated 7.4% increase on residential property values and ordered an adjustment that more than doubled that value increase to an average of 15.5% countywide, which worked out to an increase on 82% of the county’s 210,776 residential parcels, according to the auditor.

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said following full reappraisal years, taxes will generally rise for about a third of property owners; remain unchanged for another third and the remainder go down.

But the recent reappraisal wasn’t typical, Keith said.

“This particular year, because we’re seeing (residential) values increase as high as we are, 15.5% overall — and some different communities are seeing higher rates than that — the impact is on the inside millage and how much the rate increases within your particular jurisdiction,” Keith said. “That’s going change that formula to some degree by a modest amount, no question about it.”

Rev. Wendell Oldham Jr. rakes leaves on his property on Goldengate Dr. in Centerville Monday Jan. 4, 2021. Property  owners will soon receive property tax bill for 2021 in the mail. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
Rev. Wendell Oldham Jr. rakes leaves on his property on Goldengate Dr. in Centerville Monday Jan. 4, 2021. Property owners will soon receive property tax bill for 2021 in the mail. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Keith said his office is working this week to calculate each parcel’s tax bill for the year, which is also impacted by any new levies and reduction factors on others. The annual tax amount should be available by the end of the week at www.mcrealestate.org, where property owners can now find their final values.

Tax values rose double-digits on 62% of the residential parcels in the county, including the Centerville home of the Rev. Wendell M. Oldham, Jr., which climbed in value 29%.

Oldham, who is retired, said he’s conflicted about the prospect of paying higher taxes.

“I know what benefits I get from (property taxes), but let’s not get too far,” he said.

Oldham said taxes that go toward services and to improve schools can help make communities attractive.

“People like to come to places where there’s good schools,” he said. “It helps the value of the property and that helps the quality of my life ... but I can use it for other uses myself other than pay more taxes.”

Oldham said he plans to challenge the new valuation with the county’s Board of Revision.

The state approved the county’s abstract Dec. 31, the longest its ever taken, according to the Auditor’s Office. Printed final valuation notices will be mailed out toward the end of the month, about the same time property owners are receiving their first-half tax bills, which could cause some confusion, said Montgomery County Treasurer Russ Joseph.

“I know folks are going to have a lot of questions, certainly understandably so,” Joseph said.

Despite the tight timeframe, Joseph said the office should get tax bills out three to four weeks before the Feb. 19 due date.

The Ohio Department of Taxation initially told the county it expected to see its 2020 reappraisal show an average increase of 18% in property values, “which was way off from what we had determined,” Keith said.

“There’s still some confusion in our minds as to why the state used a different methodology this year than they’ve ever used in the past,” he said.

ExploreMontgomery County: Property value increase at $3.5B after state-ordered adjustment

When completing its reappraisal, the auditor’s office took into consideration the past three years of real estate data while the state took into account only the most recent year, a departure from past practice, Keith said.

The state maintains it didn’t alter its assessment process this year.

“The Department of Taxation has not changed the way in which, and the standards with which, it evaluates proposed valuations submitted by counties, including Montgomery County,” read a statement by the department to the Dayton Daily News.

According to the state, the department places more statistical weight on the most recent year of sales “because it reflects the most accurate picture of the true value of real property as of the tax lien date, which for this cycle is Jan. 1, 2020.”

Property owners on Goldengate Dr. in Centerville will soon receive property tax bill for 20201.
Caption
Property owners on Goldengate Dr. in Centerville will soon receive property tax bill for 20201.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

“Establishing true or market value is the constitutional imperative driving Ohio’s system for valuing property. Determining an average of values from sales in all three years preceding the lien date falls short of that constitutional standard,” read the department’s statement. “In a practical sense, would you sell your house in January 2020 for what property was selling for in 2017 or 2018? The Department reviews sales from the full three-year period to establish a market trend, but the best evidence of value as of Jan. 1, 2020 are the sales that immediately precede that date.”

The state approved the county’s 6% increase on commercial properties in August but rejected the valuation on residential properties. After coming to an agreement with the state on residential property values, the total taxable value of all properties in the county climbed 13.3% from 2017 to about $29.8 billion, the highest in history, Keith told area officials earlier in December.

ExploreProperty values climb in Montgomery County

The tentative values mailed out in August prompted owners of 4,021 parcels to ask the auditor for an informal review — most owners believing the county valued their property too high. Nearly half — 1,982 — resulted in the county decreasing the taxable value; 1,805 were unchanged; and 234 resulted in an increase.

M.D. Neeman, a Dayton homeowner who saw the tax value of his home tentatively increase $30,000 this year, requested an informal review and also questioned the Department of Taxation’s process, which he said focused on a single year that was not the norm.

“The state shortened the valuation process from three years of sales data to just last year’s sales in the midst of inflated prices from a housing bubble,” Neeman said.

Neeman said even after he challenged the tentative value, the final value went higher, increasing $31,510, an increase of 27.5%.

Property owners who participated in the informal review process have already been sent final notices by mail and may still file a complaint if they disagree with the value, according to the Auditor’s Office.

Montgomery County property reappraisal, 2020   
New tentative property values approved by the Ohio Department of Taxation resulted in the county's total valuation increasing $3.5 billion to $29.8 billion.    
Jurisdiction Total market value change Residential value changeTotal combined change
Kettering $507,700,000 17.6%15.7%
Washington Twp. $455,700,000 14.9%13.5%
Dayton $431,300,000 14.4%11.2%
Centerville $340,900,000 14.9%17.8%
Huber Heights $312,000,000 19.7%17.7%
Miami Twp. $229,800,000 17.7%13.4%
Miamisburg $203,900,000 17.1%17.2%
Vandalia $111,200,000 13.0%11.3%
Oakwood $110,700,000 11.6%11.8%
Englewood $106,800,000 17.6%14.3%
Riverside $83,600,000 13.8%11.8%
West Carrollton $74,300,000 17.5%14.8%
Trotwood $72,000,000 17.2%11.5%
Clayton $66,400,000 10.9%9.5%
Butler Twp. $60,100,000 11.6%9.3%
Harrison Twp. $52,400,000 13.3%7.8%
Union $50,500,000 18.5%16.4%
Germantown $48,400,000 19.1%17.5%
Brookville $43,000,000 16.8%13.6%
Jackson Twp. $30,200,000 15.3%9.5%
Moraine $29,000,000 13.3%7.0%
German Twp. $26,100,000 19.1%10.9%
Perry Twp. $21,100,000 19.1%9.6%
New Lebanon $17,600,000 14.8%14.9%
Jefferson Twp. $15,100,000 10.7%6.7%
Farmersville $5,900,000 14.4%13.3%
Clay Twp. $3,600,000 8.9%1.3%
Phillipsburg $1,000,000 4.5%5.0%
*Total $3,508,100,000 15.5%13.3%
*Sum of jurisdictions does not precisely reflect countywide total due to minor overlaps caused by certain annexations.   
NOTE: These values are the approved tentative values. The approved final values could be slightly different.   
Source: Montgomery County Auditor's Office  

Staff photographer Jim Noelker contributed to this story.

HOW TO FILE A DISPUTE

Owners who want to dispute the final valuation may file a complaint with the Board of Revision until March 31. This quasi-judicial board has the authority to hear complaints and adjust property values. Information on the Board of Revision process and the complaint form can be found at www.mc-bor.org. Property owners who have questions about the 2020 property reappraisal or the Board of Revision should contact the Auditor’s Office at 937-225-4326. or via email at BOR@mcohio.org.