Residential property values to decrease, farms to increase in 2014

LISBON – Residential property values in Columbiana County are expected to decrease in 2014 but the same cannot be said for farm land, according to county Auditor Nancy Milliken.

“We’ve been in talks with the state and it looks like there could be a slight decrease for residential property and an increase for agricultural,” Milliken said this week.

She was referring to the property revaluation performed in 2013 by the state, which is midway between the countywide reappraisal conducted every six years. The revaluation is based on property sales that occurred over the previous three years and whether the sale price is more or less than the value listed by the auditor’s office.

Based on those results, the state comes up with an average increase or decrease in values for residential property and farm land. The results of the revaluation will appear on 2014 property tax bills, and Milliken expects confirmation from the state next week on exactly what the average increases or decreases will be.

Increases in property values generally translate into tax increases since property taxes are based on 35 percent of a property’s value as appraised by the auditor’s office.

Meanwhile, county commissioners authorized Milliken to sign a contract with John G. Cleminshaw Inc. to begin work on the next countywide reappraisal starting next June. This is when every single parcel is reappraised, the results of which will take effect in 2017.

The contract with Cleminshaw is for $1.03 million, which is about the same the firm charged for performing the previous reappraisal. Milliken said they were able to hold the line on the cost because of their decision to spend $106,417 on a new aerial photographic mapping system.

The system allows properties to be viewed from multiple angles, instead of just from overhead, which is what you get from Google Earth. Milliken said being able to examine properties from all angles will give them the ability to determine if improvements have been made to a property without leaving the office.

Even when that occurs, Milliken said they will still send someone into the field to verify the improvement. “Each property will be looked at at least once,” she said.

The new mapping system, the cost of which is being shared with the county 911 board, has additional features that will increase reappraisal efficiency, Milliken said.

Cleminshaw will be paid an additional $139,250 to enter data from the new aerial mapping system.