September 16, 2014

Medina
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Home values fall more in cities

To see how home values have changed in each city, township and village, click here

The state-mandated reappraisal released by the Medina County Auditor’s Office on Monday shows total home values dropped by 4.8 percent since the last update in 2010.

But the decline was not spread evenly across the county.

The county’s three cities — Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth — saw much steeper drops than rural communities. Combined city home values declined 6.5 percent compared to only 3.8 percent in the county’s 17 townships and 3.3 percent in the six villages.

Total value of all types of property in the county — residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial and other categories — fell 3.4 percent, or $497 million.
Residential values account for $477 million, or nearly 96 percent of the total.

County Auditor Michael E. Kovack said the new values will be mailed in the next couple months to provide property owners an opportunity to appeal.

Twelve hearings to contest the appraisals have been scheduled through late October. The first is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the auditor’s office, 144 N. Broadway St., Medina.

The new values won’t be finalized until approved by the state and will not be assessed on tax bills until 2014.

Kovack pointed out that although total home values declined, some individual property owners did see increases.

“Taxes are going to drop slightly, but we’ve got a fair amount of properties that have had increases, too,” he said.

Residential property values declined in every city, township and village in the county.

Kovack said the cities saw bigger losses because the collapse of home prices in 2008-09 hit hardest in urban subdivisions.

“You had an oversupply when the bottom dropped out,” he said. “So that’s where you get reduced property value.”

While the cities overall had bigger losses, the community that saw the biggest drop — 10.3 percent — was Spencer Township.

Westfield Township had the smallest decline in home values — less than 1 percent.

Among the villages, Chippewa Lake fell the most — 4.6 percent of residential value, while Spencer Village faired best, declining only 1.2 percent. Total agricultural property values declined by $32.3 million or 2.5 percent.

But again, the range was wide.

Within the townships, home to most of the county’s agricultural property, Litchfield sustained the worst drop, 9.3 percent, while neighboring Chatham Township saw a 2.4 percent increase.

Spencer and Medina townships also dropped significantly, both down about 8.5 percent.

Granger Township remained relatively stable with only a 0.1 percent increase to agricultural value, the most stable in the county.

Local officials said they need time to determine what the decline in values will mean to their budgets.

Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton said he’s not concerned about the impact of property taxes because most of the city’s revenue comes from income taxes or other sources.

“The property tax revenue that we receive is probably less than 1 percent of our total budget,” he said.

But Easton said the drop in real estate values will hurt the school districts, which rely much more heavily on property taxes.

“If there are steps we can take to increase values, we’ll be looking at those opportunities,” he said.

Ohio law requires county auditors to adjust the tax rates on most levies approved by voters to compensate for changes in values. When values go up, the “effective millage” does down, while lower values drive effective millage up.

Only the unvoted “inside millage” is unchanged and collects less when values go down.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the cities will be affected to some degree.

“The property values and taxes have an effect on our inside millage, which goes to our general fund to pay for police and fire,” he said. “So that will have an effect but to say what that impact will be, I just don’t know that we have that information.”

Brunswick Economic Development Manager Tim Smith and other officials could not be reached for comment.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.