Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Eastern Warren takes hit in reappraisal

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Taxes are going up in Warren County, and the county's older, smaller eastern communities are taking the biggest hit.

        A reappraisal of property values — which all Ohio counties must do every three years — finds them 16.3 percent higher overall than in 1998, Warren County Auditor Nick Nelson announced Monday.

        “We're in a highly desirable area,” he said.

        Residential property values alone rose an average of 16.6 percent, he said, which will result in an average 4.5 percent increase in owners' property taxes.

        Property owners will not pay more for most voted levies, however, and the reappraisal will not change the effect of levies on the Nov. 7 ballot, Mr. Nelson said.

        Hamilton County's reap praisal last year showed values had risen 15 percent in three years. Butler County's reappraisal takes place in 2002.

        Some of Warren County's hot spots of the past several years saw average increases in value in the new appraisal. Homes in Deerfield Township, for instance, are worth 15.01 percent more, and Mason's residential property went up 16.3 percent.

        But residents in Butlerville and Pleasant Plain — small communities in Harlan Township in southeastern Warren — are in for a shock when they get their property tax bills in mid-January: Their values increased an average of 30.24 percent and 24.01 percent, respectively.

        East-side residents include retired homeowners who may feel the pain of a tax increase more than those drawing paychecks.

        “Social Security is all we've got,” said Herbert Reveal, who has spent 30 of his 78 years in the same house in Morrow. “It hurts real bad.”

        Mr. Reveal and wife Flora added a patio enclosure since the last appraisal but have made no other upgrades, he said. Their house jumped in value from $47,210 in 1999 to $66,070 on their upcoming tax bill, according to the auditor's preliminary numbers.

        “I don't see why it would rise that much in Morrow when there's not that much building going on around here,” Mr. Reveal said.

        His property taxes will rise from $253 to $320 per six months, according to tentative estimates — a far cry from the $58 a year Mr. Reveal paid when he bought the house. Overall, Morrow residents will see a 21.77 percent increase in values.

        In nearby Pleasant Plain, Betty Pittman, 74, is philosophic about about the additional $118 per year she may have to pay in taxes on her 20-acre farm and home: “I know it takes money to run a government. Nothing you can do.”

        Property owners can obtain and discuss their tentative reappraisals by calling 695-1235 or (937) 783-4993 or by visiting the auditor's office, 320 E. Silver St., Lebanon, during these extended hours Oct. 30 to Nov. 9:

        • 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

        • 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

        • 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 4.


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