HANOVERTON, Ohio — More than 300 farmers and landowners from across Columbiana County piled into United Local High School Sept. 28.
The news was not good for farmers. Property taxes are going up; just how much is not known yet.
Larry Gearhardt, senior director of local affairs, said the meeting was designed to be a forewarning that tax hikes are coming.
“We can’t tell you what your taxes will be. What we are trying to do is forewarn you that they are probably going up,” said Gearhardt.
Other counties. In neighboring counties, it ranges from 18 percent in Trumbull and Tuscarawas to 11 percent in Ashtabula, 15 percent in Mahoning, 19 percent in Carroll and 17 percent in Harrison and Jefferson counties.
Gearhardt said the increase will likely grow to between 25 and 30 percent for Columbiana County.
The increase is higher than any farmer would like to see but there are reasons behind the increase.
It is being blamed on higher crop prices and an adjustment in the formula used to calculate property taxes.
The factors used in the calculation are based on three crops: wheat, corn and soybeans. Also considered is the cropping pattern, production costs and the capitalization rate.
Gearhardt said the capitalization rate is potentially the biggest influence on value. The rate starts with the mortgage interest rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage from the Farm Credit Services of America with 40 percent equity and 60 percent debt.
Then a rolling average of the factors are used. It is determined by the last seven years’ values, with the highest and lowest values removed and the remaining five years averaged.
Gearhardt said property values went up 100, 200 and 300 percent in some places across Ohio because of the trends in crop prices and the cost of production. In addition, the capitalization rates went down because of the low interest rates being charged because of the economy.
Meanwhile, some of the comments made during the open session of the meeting showed many farmers are not happy about the increase.
“We are not asking you to like the numbers. We (Ohio Farm Bureau) are just telling you where they are coming from,” said Gearhardt.
One other thing Gearhardt made clear to the public was while the CAUV taxation rate may be increasing it may not mean the fair market value is going up.
Gearhardt reminded the crowd that the taxation rates will not be available until December in Columbiana County to see just how the changes in the CAUV calculation will affect them.