When Martin Hunter of Harvard Boulevard received his home revaluation in the mail the other day, his reaction was one of shock and "horror" — the value of his home had dropped $25,000.
"I think [the value] will come back up, but it may take more time than I have to stay here," said Mr. Hunter of South Toledo. "It'll probably take a minimum of five years, maybe 10."
Lucas County property owners will receive proposed property revaluations in coming weeks; some, like Mr. Hunter, have received them already.
Across the county, the total value of all of Lucas County's approximately 200,000 parcels is down about 12 percent compared with the 2009 values, according to the Lucas County Auditor's Office, although individual properties can vary considerably from this.
State law requires the county auditor to revalue all real property every six years. In a revaluation, the auditor must revalue each individual parcel using property characteristics and sales data from the last three years — in this case from 2009, 2010, and 2011. Unlike in a triennial update — which was conducted in 2009 — the change from neighbor to neighbor and house to house may vary during a revaluation.
John Keyes, also of Harvard Boulevard, put about $20,000 into renovating his home, including installing new carpeting and doors, all with the intention of selling the house. That was before the housing crisis hit.
Now, Mr. Keyes, who found out Thursday that his home dropped in value to $67,000 from $91,000, won't even consider moving, because he knows he won't make what he deserves for his property.
Mr. Keyes said he was extremely upset upon opening the revaluation letter. "What do you think people are going to do? People can't move. It's crazy: It should be against the law."
Mr. Keyes pointed to the house of his neighbors across the street, the Pucketts, who have had their home on the market for two years without being able to sell it.
"The value of the home dropped $22,000 — what kind of reaction can you have?" Chris Puckett said. "I'm shocked. It's huge — it's hard to recover, and it's not going to recover anytime soon."
Auditor Anita Lopez emphasized the numbers people will see on the value-change notice they receive in the mail are proposed values and are still subject to resident input.
"We want people to review their letter," Ms. Lopez said Friday. "If the information is inaccurate about the property description, we need that feedback."
Susan Mettler, a real estate agent with Key Realty, who saw an unexpected increase in a proposed valuation on a home she owns, said she has successfully challenged previous valuations.
"They are very fair about changing it when you go in with information," she said.
Marj Mulcahy, a South Toledo resident, was a bit puzzled when she received her proposed property revaluations in the mail this week.
"A couple of them did go up and a couple of them did go down," she said, referring to her home and several rental properties she owns.
All four properties are within the same 43614 ZIP Code; two are within the same Harvard Terrace South Toledo neighborhood.
"I'm going to make an appointment to follow up and get more information," she said.
Many homeowners may see a lower value as home sales from 2009, 2010, and 2011 factor into the revaluation calculation, however.
"That was probably one of the toughest times in our local economy," Ms. Lopez said.
Foreclosure sales are not allowed to be used in the auditor's analysis, however, because postforeclosure home sales often can negatively affect values.
The values should be finalized by October and the 2012 value will go into effect on January, 2013, tax bills.
Wood County reappraised residential property values last year, and Auditor Michael Sibbersen said the average property value dropped 10.5 percent, a decrease the county hadn't experienced since the 1980s. Ottawa County's revaluation has not yet been approved by the state, and the county hopes to release individual property valuations in mid-August.
How Lucas County's revaluations will affect school districts and other entities that depend on property taxes isn't yet clear.
Property owners can challenge the values; commercial, industrial, and utility property values haven't been released, and delinquency rates can all affect total collection amounts and, ultimately, public entities' coffers.
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Toledo Public Schools Treasurer Matt Cleland said he's regularly met with the auditor's office in anticipation of the revaluation and has projected a 1.5 percent decrease in revenue from local property taxes. The expected value of the city's new casino should counteract some of the decline in property values across the city, he said.
The district's real hit is likely to come when commercial property values are released, he said, because fluctuations in their values have a greater effect on levy revenue than do those in residential property values.
Mr. Cleland had built the expected decrease into the district's five-year forecast; some of the lost revenue also will be counteracted by expected gains from gambling taxes.
Neither Mr. Cleland nor Washington Local Treasurer Jeff Fouke has received district-wide estimates for property values, and relied on estimates based on projections provided to them by the auditor's office. Mr. Fouke said his office has projected about a 10 percent average property value decrease, from $908 million to $819 million, values not seen since 1996.
Julie Malkin, spokesman for Lucas County Children Services, said her agency has not received any formal estimates yet from the auditor's office on the new property valuations and how they could affect the organization's levy. She said Children Services has made its own informal estimates on possible alterations to its budget, but declined to give any information.
Toledo finance director Patrick McLean said the changes will cut into the approximately $14 million a year in property taxes the city receives.
That won't happen this year, but officials will have to work the expected cut into the city's 2013 budget, he said. The city hasn't calculated exactly what the cut will be yet. However, Mr. McLean said he'd been expecting some kind of devaluation given the severe downturn in the housing market during the last few years.
"We knew this was coming and it was just a matter of how much," he said.
Ms. Lopez emphasized her office is working hard to answer questions from residents about the process and issue fair property values.
"If any citizen is unsatisfied with that process, they can specifically [call] and ask for me," Ms. Lopez said. The auditor's office asks anyone with questions or concerns to call 419-213-4406.
Staff writers Nolan Rosenkrans and Claudia Boyd-Barrett contributed to this report.
Contact Kate Giammarise at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6091.