Deadline passes for home-value challenges


After comparing the prices of recent home sales in his West Toledo neighborhood, Jonathan Brinkman was skeptical about the Lucas County Auditor's 2012 assessment on the value of his home.

According to his calculations, the average sale price in the area has dropped to $80,000, nearly $30,000 less than the revaluation completed on his home.

Mr. Brinkman was among the property owners who met Monday’s deadline to contest property values established by the auditor's three-year revaluation.

Anita Lopez, county auditor, staffed a clinic at One Government Center on Monday to help property owners who wanted to file a value complaint against their 2012 property values.

“The owners of property, whether residential or business, may challenge their value. Some may want an increase and some may want a decrease,” Ms. Lopez said. “The right to challenge exists under the state law. We have kept our promise to keep a citizen-friendly process.”

To contest valuations on homes, businesses, and property, owners needed to fill out a complaint form, providing information on comparable sales in their neighborhood, and submit it to the auditor's office.

Mr. Brinkman hopes that the comparable home sales he cited will persuade county officials to lower his valuation.

“I think at one time the value was that much. But I think it has gone down,” said Mr. Brinkman, who filed the paperwork after finding the complaint form on the auditor's Web site.

Nate Floure of South Toledo challenged the 2012 valuation on his home because he believes it was too low. He said the auditor set a $86,000 value on the property, down from the previous $113,000.

Mr. Floure said he made improvements to the house during the seven years he has lived there and he wants to protect its value.

The appeals will be decided by the three-member Board of Appeals, which consists of the county auditor, treasurer, and a county commissioner.

Ms. Lopez said the board began hearing appeals in February and will continue hearing cases into the summer.

Because complaints postmarked before and on April 1 had not processed, the number of appeals could not be determined. However, the office had received nearly 1,900 forms as of Monday, far below the approximately 3,800 submitted in 2012.

Ms. Lopez sponsored a similar clinic last week and has attended Block Watch meetings and senior citizen centers to get the word out about the property valuation appeals process.

“I think the more education we do, the more comfortable citizens feel with whether or not the value of their property is fair and equitable,” she said.

— Mark Reiter