The Republican nominee for Lucas County Auditor kicked off his race today promising not to run for any other office, if he’s elected, and highlighting fears about lowered property values.
John Navarre, 54, who is an employee of the auditor’s office on unpaid administrative leave, said he has heard concerns from homeowners about low property values affecting their homes‘ resale values. He is taking on incumbent Democratic Auditor Anita Lopez in the November election.
“I’ve been asked by homeowners what happened to the values of their home and why are they so low,” Mr. Navarre said. “They state a concern that the value that it is at the auditor‘s office could affect their selling price.”
He blamed the lower values on a combination of blight and valuation decisions made by the Board of Revision, the arm of the auditor’s office that revises property values in response to appeals from property owners.
Mr. Navarre declined to further comment on the role of the auditor in lowering property values, saying only it would be addressed in further news conferences.
“I am not a career politician. Leading the auditor’s office is a destination job, not a political stepping stone,” Mr. Navarre said. “I have no intentions of running for mayor, recorder, or whatever other political positions become available.”
Ms. Lopez, a former Lucas County recorder and former Toledo school board member, is seeking a third four-year term. She ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Toledo in 2013, but today committed to serving her entire four-year term, if re-elected.
Ms. Lopez said property values were adjusted because of the economic collapse of 2008.
“As the economy is getting a little better in certain areas and foreclosures get under control then you’ll see an increase in the stability of our economy. The market crashed and I was the auditor who made sure citizens were not overvalued because of that,” Ms. Lopez said.
As auditor, she said she would continue an emphasis on fair and equitable values and excellent public service. She cited the award announced last week to her office for its 2013 clean financial report by state Auditor David Yost.
Mr. Navarre said he would be a watchdog for senior citizens and families, whose home is often their biggest asset, that he would always be transparent, and that he would be a “hands-on auditor.“