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HB 126 – Modification to BOR Process – Contact Your Senator

By Katie Johnson posted 11-10-2021 03:42 PM

  

The Senate Ways and Means Committee heard opposition testimony yesterday for House Bill (HB) 126, the legislation sponsored by Rep. Merrin that modifies the Board of Revisions (BOR) process for property valuation challenges. Click here for the bill text, LSC Analysis and Fiscal Notes.

HB 126 was made even more egregious with a proposed amendment that would eliminate a board of education’s right to file complaints and counter-complaints.

We would like to thank our members who called their senators to voice concern and opposition to the proposed amendment and vote on HB 126. Your contacts and conversations helped to slow this deeply flawed legislation, but the battle is certainly not over.

Please continue to keep pressure on your senators. You can find your senator’s contact information here. Please stress your opposition the proposed amendment, as well as to the legislation in its current form, which would require:

  • Notification to the property owners by the school district to let them know the district is considering filing a property valuation challenge or a counter-challenge to a property owner’s claim. This is a redundant mandate because the BOR process is already set up to notify affected property owners.
  • After notification, the board of education must then pass a separate resolution indicating it will challenge the values for specific properties. This step would have the effect of politicizing the decisions as to which properties would be challenged.

Taken together, the mandates in HB 126 appear to discourage boards of education from accessing the BOR process. Because of the effects of HB 920, property owners with accurate property values will pay more than their fair share of taxes for certain types of levies, subsidizing the lower taxes paid by property owners whose properties are undervalued. This result will be unfortunate, not only for school districts, but also for the residential and commercial property owners whose values are accurate.

Based on the questions from members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, if would be helpful to share with your senator how your district approaches valuation challenges, including:

  • Type of property your district does and does not challenge;
  • Valuation thresholds, if any, by which your district will file a challenge;
  • Fee for service or contingency payments for legal services;
  • Percentage of local property taxes that comprise your district’s state and local funding source; and
  • Any specific examples of cases that would reinforce the issue where a property in your district is undervaluing, the district challenged, and the BOR agreed.

 
We offer a special thanks to the following individuals who provided opposition testimony in the Senate Ways and Means Committee in person or via written format:

  • Nicholas Ciarniello, Treasurer/CFO - Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools
  • Todd Puster, Treasurer/CFO - Orange City School District
  • Stan Bahorek, Treasurer/CFO - Columbus City Schools
  • Phillip Butto IV, Treasurer/CFO - Hudson City School District
  • Kristine Blind, Treasurer/CFO - London City School District
  • Ryan Jenkins, Treasurer/CFO - Pickerington Local School District
  • Terry Groden, President, Board of Education - North Olmsted City Schools
  • Bill Wade, Treasurer/CFO - Mentor Public Schools
  • Jeff Dornbusch, Treasurer/CFO - Port Clinton City Schools
  • Ryan Pendleton, Treasurer/CFO - Akron Public Schools
  • Patrick Schymanski, Board of Education – Elida Local Schools

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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