Written by Brian Massie, Lake County, OH resident
We recently sent an email to the Lake County Auditor, Mr. Chris Galloway, asking about the triennial update of property taxes that will occur in 2021. Later in the article you will see my email to him and Mr. Galloway’s response.
We will follow-up with the Auditor’s office later in the year, and try to explain to our readers the process used to determine the increased property valuations and the subsequent property tax increases.
We still hold to our original statement: “If we continue on the path of ever-increasing property taxes, we will price seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes that they have worked all their lives to achieve.”
Everyone should know their HAT %. It is not a statistic that LFC developed. In the 1800’s, people believed that they should not spend more than one week’s wages for their monthly rent. (25%). The federal government, through HUD, increased it to 30%.
Housing Affordability Threshold – if your property taxes, utilities and mortgage equals 30% or more of your annual income, then the house is deemed unaffordable for you. You do not need to move, but you will experience difficulty paying for the other necessities in your life. For a renter, you would add your rent plus utilities to determine your HAT %.
For example: Monthly expenses: Mortgage $1,000 + Utilities $400 + Property Taxes $600 = $2,000 per month. If you earn $75,000 per year your HAT% would be 32%. [Calculation: ($2,000 x 12) / $75,000]
Young people wondering if they should move out on their own could make use of this calculation to determine if they are ready for that next big step in their life.
We are very concerned about the possibility of drastic home foreclosures in the next few years in Lake County, Ohio. There are many seniors living just on social security (`$18,000 per year) with very little savings as backup. Increasing property taxes and inflationary pressures on prices for food, etc. may spell disaster.
Emails to and from the Lake County Auditor:
We noticed the following statement on the Auditor’s website:
“Is the Triennial Update Required?”
“Yes, the Ohio Revised Code Section 5715.33 requires that the County Auditor revalue all real property every six years, and update those values in the middle of each revaluation cycle or in the third year. In Lake County, the last revaluation was effective for the tax year 2018 and the next update will be completed for tax year 2021 which is payable in 2022.”
Can you please tell us what three years will be used for the reappraisal of the Lake County properties in 2021?
We would like to dispel the rumor that this year’s reappraisal will use only the highest values in one of the three years.
Thank you for helping us get the truth out to the people.
Here is Mr. Galloway’s response to our question:
The triennial revaluation is a statistical analysis of sales occurring since the sextennial. We don’t pick and choose.
For a resident, I think it’s best to think of it as, “what’s my value on 12/31/2020?”
Meaning if values were up in the first two years and down sharply in the third, we are not going to use a value from the first year.
[LFC Comments: We will be sure to follow up with this item to ensure that taxpayers understand why they are being taxed out of their homes.
We thank Mr. Galloway for his transparency and timely response.]