Mentor CFO Responds to Our Questions

In our pursuit of disseminating accurate information to the citizens about the increasing property values in Lake County for 2024 with the tax to be collected in 2025, we have been communicating with several taxing authorities asking if they agree with our calculations on their increase in revenues and the respective cost to the taxpayers.

Taxpayers must realize that they pay property taxes to Lake County, the municipality in which they live, and to their school district in their taxing district. If you live in the Willoughby-Eastlake, Kirtland, Perry, Madison and Riverside school district, you will see an significant increase in your property taxes due to the school district being at the 20 mill floor and no longer subject to the benefits of HB 920.

We sent the following email to Mr. Bill Wade, the CFO of the Mentor School District. Mr. Wade did reply very quickly and his response is shown below.


Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall

Mr. Wade,

We believe that the Mentor School District’s taxpayers should be made aware of the property tax increase they will experience because of the mandatory increases in the property values in 2024 with the taxes to be collected in 2025. They should be aware before they get their tax bill in 2025.

Lake County Auditor Chris Galloway suggested that we use an average 30% factor for property increases in our calculations.  Our calculations  indicate that the Mentor School District will not be at the 20 mill floor after the 30% increase in property values.  Do you concur?

The massive 30% property value increase will impact the inside (unvoted) millage. 

Our calculations show that the Mentor School District will realize approximately $2,364,000 annual increase without a vote of the taxpayers.  Do you concur?

Also, the taxpayers will be paying an additional $50 per $100,000 of market value (a.k.a. appraised or true value) per year without a vote.  Do you concur?

We have reviewed our calculations with the Auditor’s office.

Thank you for your transparency with the taxpayers of the Mentor School District.

Brian Massie
A Watchman on the Wall
Truth Conquers All
Lobbyists for Citizens


Mr. Bill Wade, Chief Financial Officer for the Mentor School District.

  1. I agree, we will not be at the floor with the projected increases by the auditor.  Thus, our taxpayers will be protected by HB920 and only see an increase based on the inside millage of 4.80 mills.
  2. I would agree this is a fair calculation.  While it is dependent on collection rates, I would expect it to be within acceptable ranges. I would disagree this is without a vote of the taxpayers, however, as the tax payers have approved all our levies through a vote with the inside millage being a part of that consideration.  While I understand your point that the inside millage isn’t an actual voted millage it is included in all our calculations and communicated as part of our complete picture. Furthermore, based on the long standing history of property taxes in Ohio I think portraying it as an unvoted increase misrepresents to taxpayers that this is a result of the current law, not something the district is doing. 
  3. I would concur that for an AVERAGE homeowner this would be the case.  Some will be below and some will be above so I would not agree this will be true for everyone.  

Please also note we included a 30% increase in our forecast and communicated this to our community as far back as the October Board meeting.  I have included those slides for your reference and you can watch the presentation on our youtube channel.  I would also add that the approximate $2.4-$2.5 million we are projecting to see as a result of the re-evaluaiton accounts for an increase of 2.3% in revenue.  This is below the rate of inflation over that same time period.  

I would be curious to hear what your stance is on how to best address property taxes and school funding.  I am always open to new ideas to help better fund our schools.


Additional LFC Comments by Brian Massie:

We disagree with Mr. Wade on his statement that the taxpayers did vote on the increase because of the inside millage. By definition, inside millage is unvoted millage, and the taxpayer has no recourse but to pay the increases in the inside millage. We have yet to see ANY taxing authority ever mention that they will receive “X” in additional revenue because of the increasing values impacting inside millage.

Most taxpayers, and many State legislators, do not even understand the very complex property tax rules in the State of Ohio.

Unfortunately, the American Dream of home ownership is just an illusion. We are merely renters from the government. It you disagree, just do not pay your property tax bill, and you will see what happens.

Any tax that, if unpaid, causes a citizen to become homeless is immoral.


Categories: Lake, Lake County - General, Real Estate Taxes, Uncategorized


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