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Lawrence County to see higher tax assessments

Jan. 20, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- About 21 percent of Lawrence County property owners will see higher assessments when they get their 2013 tax bills, which are scheduled to be mailed out later this week.

A state-ordered reassessment of property values has shown an increase in the county from $2.53 billion in 2012 to $2.61 billion last year, according to County Auditor Jason Stephens. The reassessment represents about a 3 percent increase in property values, he said.

"State-ordered reassessments in years past have been in the double digits," Stephens said Friday.

Every six years, the state of Ohio requires the county auditor to appraise every parcel in the county to determine property values for taxing purposes, Stephens said. The county auditor also is required to perform a "triennal update" every three years. Lawrence County was required to do the update in 2013, he said.

"It's a reflection of the real estate market," Stephens said.

While most residents won't see an increase in property values, some areas will see increased assessments. About half the parcels in Ironton were affected, he said.

Several neighbors in Ironton saw increased assessments from 2 to 11 percent and some areas in Rome Township saw increases of 4 to 5 percent, Stephens said. Parts of Union Township also saw increased property values of 3 to 5 percent.

Another area seeing increased assessments are farmlands, Stephens said. Those increases were based on a state formula for agricultural use based on soil values, he said. The state formula is based on crop prices, corn prices and hay values, he said.

Agricultural property gets a discount. The discount was 46 percent, but was dropped this year to a 32 percent discount, he said.

Property owners can check their assessed property values at the auditor's website www.lawrencecountyauditor.org.

Anyone who disagrees with the assessment can file an appeal with the Lawrence County Board of Revision by March 31. Appeal forms are available at the auditor's office and at the website.

Stephens, County Treasurer Steve Burcham and a county commissioner or their designee sit on the board.

Even with some assessments going up, Lawrence County continues to have the lowest tax rates in Ohio, said Chris Kline, deputy county auditor.

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