Property Values Plummet

County property values have dropped even more after residents disputed their values to the board of equalization.

Prior to the board of equalization hearings, county property values had already seen their sharpest decline in more than 50 years.

The county’s total assessed value, which includes personal property and real estate, is $1,769,359,364 after the board of equalization hearings. That means values declined by almost $10 million after the hearings.

The assessed value of real estate decreased by more than $98 million, or 6.6 percent, this year compared to last. The total assessed value of real estate in the county this year is $1.4 billion.

Assessed values represent a percentage of market values. The assessed value is the percentage at which property is taxed. Residential property is taxed at 19 percent of its market value; agricultural, 12 percent; commercial, 32 percent; and vehicles, 33.3 percent.

The assessed value of personal property increased this year over last by $16.5 million, or 4.6 percent. The total assessed value of personal property in the county this year is $374.5 million.

Residential property has seen a large decline in value, County Assessor Tom Copeland said.

This is because the housing market has still not recovered from the recession, Copeland added. Residential property is still not selling for what it has in the past.

Home values are set based on what other homes in the area have sold for. Since Franklin County is a non-charter county, buyers and sellers are not required to report how much homes have sold for. However, some do so voluntarily, and this helps Copeland’s office set the value of other homes in the area.

It would help his office if more people reported the amount that homes sell for, he asserted.

His office establishes a fair market value based on comparable sales. The decrease in residential property values is county-wide, not directed at specific areas, he added.

Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said he does not know if the county will have to raise the tax rate to generate the needed revenue with the lower values.

Under state statute, the county tax rate must be set by Sept. 20 each year, County Counselor Mark Vincent said.

The lower values reflect the housing market and the impact the recession has had on the area, Griesheimer said.