COLUMBIANA CO. Increase in realty value is cut back

Concern about a looming property-tax increase prompted the county auditor to take steps to fight it.
LISBON -- A state-proposed 25 percent increase in property valuation in Columbiana County has been whittled to 12 percent, thanks to lobbying by county officials and citizens.
The valuation increase, which was proposed by the state taxation board, was reduced as the result of negotiations among state officials, Columbiana County Auditor Nancy Milliken and a tax committee appointed by her.
Had the 25 percent increase gone into effect, property taxes could have increased by about 14 percent because the property valuation listed with the county auditor is used to calculate the taxes paid on it.
Lower increase: By reducing the valuation increase to 12 percent, the property tax increase will be about 7.5 percent, depending on where taxpayers live in the county and what levies they must pay there, Milliken said.
The increase will tax effect next year.
The state proposed the 25 percent property value increase months ago, after sampling property transactions in the county and determining that many properties were selling for more than the value that the county had placed on them.
Faced with the proposed increase, in early May Milliken formed a 19-member committee composed of county officials, area business people and citizens.
Negotiations: The committee's task was to undertake negotiations with the state to persuade officials to trim the proposed value increase.
Milliken said that was accomplished, in part, by convincing state officials that a 25 percent value increase, and an accompanying 14 percent property tax boost, would be burdensome to county taxpayers.

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