Stark County to equalize taxesTax equalization might be an unfamiliar concept to some residents, but city and county officials say it is about making things fair.
By: Sean M. Soehren, The Dickinson Press
Tax equalization might be an unfamiliar concept to some residents, but city and county officials say it is about making things fair.
“We assess property in a fair and equitable way,” Stark County Tax Director Diane Brines said. “We solve inequities so that similar properties are valued alike.”
The goal is that one person does not pay more tax than another if they own similar properties.
Properties are assessed by square footage, year, style, quality and condition, Brines said. All variables are taken into account during a complete reevaluation of an area, she said.
“On a yearly basis we look at sales to determine what the market has done from one year to the next,” Brines said. “We do mathematic appraisal. We analyze sales against the previous year value to determine the value increase that needs to be made.”
Even though the property value may increase, this does not necessarily mean property taxes will increase.
“The property values work in hand with the budget,” Stark County Auditor Kay Haag said. “The values are put into a formula which accounts for variation.”
The assessed value is taken against the mill levy to figure the tax rate.
“It looks like everything for residential will increase value by about 10 percent,” Brines said. “This doesn’t mean taxes will increase.”
What it does mean is that properties have increased in value 10 percent since evaluations done in 2010. The suggested value speculates that if properties were sold now, as opposed to a year ago, they would yield 10 percent more revenue.
City boards meet to assess the evaluations. Belfield, South Heart and Gladstone have approved the recommended 10 percent increase.
“The public has the opportunity to discuss if the assessed property value is accurate,” Dickinson City Assessor Joe Hirschfeld said. “Assessing is about keeping things as equal as possible.”
South Heart resident Wayne Kuntz said the increase in property value could be a benefit to current owners.
“You could sell for more money,” he said. “I suppose it is the oil activity. There is so much demand.”
The county oversees the city evaluations. Dickinson will host its equalization meeting May 3. All city assessment values will be brought in front of the County Board of Equalization on June 7.