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Monday, April 21, 2014
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Published: 3/21/2013

Lucas County becomes first in state to offer e-filing to contest property values

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Property owners in Lucas County who want to contest their new property values can now file their complaint electronically, Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez announced today.

Lucas County is the first in the state to offer the on-line filing of property tax appeals, said Ms. Lopez, who made her announcement in a news conference at her office in Government Center. The form can be found at www.co.lucas.oh.us/auditor.

Ms. Lopez reminded the public that April 1 is the deadline to file an appeal of last year's three-year re-valuation and still get any revision reflected on this year's tax bills.

Under normal procedures, property owners submit a notarized form to the Board of Revision identifying their property, their current values, and what they believe the correct value should be. Ms. Lopez said the new procedure allows property owners to insert their parcel number in the form and then the name of the owner, the address, and the current value are automatically added. She noted that will cut down on the chances of minor errors which, in the past, have resulted in some Board of Revision appeals being rejected automatically.

Owners will still have to submit a form with their signature and that of a notary public but that can be submitted by e-mail or fax.

"This is just a friendlier way of allowing government to serve citizens," Ms. Lopez said. She also said the program will reduce the number of staff needed to process Board of Revision documents.

Ms. Lopez, a Democrat, was asked if she intends to run for mayor of Toledo, something she has already said she is considering.

"I am still meeting with businesses and citizens' organizations and as of last night I was meeting and telling individuals about my positions and asking for their concerns and where they would like the city to be," Ms. Lopez said. "I am seeking citizens' and business leaders' opinions first and then I'll be able to decide officially for you.

"I understand citizens are anxious. I am approached it seems like almost every day, and I'm very excited about the opportunities that may exist," Ms. Lopez said.

Gary Gudmundson, a spokesman for the state tax department, confirmed that Lucas County is the first in the state to take advantage of a new law allowing counties to set up an on-line appeal process. He said Lucas County's process was approved several weeks ago.

Ms. Lopez said Auditor's office employees will be available to discuss their property tax values with the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. next Thursday at the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northwestern Ohio, 909 Front St. The Auditor's office will stay open until 6 p.m. on the appeal deadline to take filings. However, electronically filed applications will be accepted only until 5 p.m.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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