State Recommends 42 Percent Value Increase

With 2023 being a state-mandated triennial update year, Butler County received
official word from the Ohio Department of Taxation Friday that it recommends an overall 42 percent
increase on the value abstract that the Auditor’s Office will submit later this year for approval.

Early projections indicated the state might seek a 24 percent increase, but that was before other counties
began receiving their recommendations from the state. Value change recommendations were recently
sent to 12 other counties in Ohio and the combined average increase sought was 34 percent. Besides
Butler, only two other counties were recommended to increase by 40 percent or more, Clermont (43)
and Knox (40).

Butler County Auditor Nancy Nix pointed out that the recommended increase is a county-wide number
and the adjustments are being made to current values, which were based on 2019 sales. Auditor
appraisers are evaluating all areas and adjustments will be made on a neighborhood by neighborhood

The Butler County Board of Commissioners held a summit with state and local leaders on Monday, May
1. The goal was to express concern to local lawmakers about the tax impact such a large value increase
could cause to property owners and discuss ways to mitigate that impact.

Nix spoke at the summit and presentations were made by Real Estate Director Mike Stein and Certified
General Appraiser Mike Gildea of the Auditor’s Office.

Gildea explained the mass appraisal process used by county Auditors and the various economic factors
driving higher sales. Stein then discussed tax calculations and the impacts higher values will have on
Butler County.

Due to House Bill 920, passed in 1976, inflationary property value increases have for years only had a
minor impact on corresponding tax increases because tax rates could be adjusted downward so levies
would still collect their voted amount. However, the law also specifies that the application of these tax
reduction factors cannot cause a school district’s effective current expense millage rate (inside and
outside combined) to fall below 20 mills (this is referred to as the 20-mill floor). In Butler County, 8 of
the 10 school districts are at the 20-mill floor. Only Lakota and Fairfield are not.

While tax rates can be adjusted downward in those two school districts to lessen tax increases,
homeowners in the other eight districts will receive a tax increase on the school portion of their tax bill
in direct correlation to their property value increase following the state-mandated triennial update.

“The role of the county Auditor is to assess, calculate, explain processes, educate, and to be transparent
and honest with information,” Nix said. “Our only advocacy is on behalf of taxpayers.”

State elected officials on the panel were state senator George Lang and state representatives Sara
Carruthers, Rodney Creech, Jennifer Gross, and Thomas Hall. Local elected officials in addition to Nix
included County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser, Treasurer Mike McNamara, Clerk of Courts Mary Swain and
Recorder Danny Crank.

Potential solutions offered to shield homeowners from large tax increases during state-mandated
property value adjustments included:

• Require the Tax Commissioner to use 3 years of sales data when deciding sales ratio percentages
• Give the Tax Commissioner the discretion to lower the required ratio percentage
• State issue credits to tax payers from general fund surplus
• Modify 20 Mill floor as it currently exists
• Include Substitute and Emergency levies in the calculation
• Revise School Funding Formula to cap contribution from local taxes
• Reinstate Rollback Credit for all levies
• Increase Homestead Exemption and raise income qualification
• Increase awareness of tax dilution impacts from exemptions and abatements

The meeting lasted for more than 90 minutes and was well attended by primarily other local elected
officials from Hamilton, West Chester and Trenton. Near its conclusion, Lang suggested the group come
together again in a month after the legislators had time to review options.

Nix advised that any real “fix” must come from the state legislature or a change to Ohio’s constitution.

“Every part of the equation should be scrutinized, not just values, which the county has been battling for
years,” Nix said.