(WKBN) – A bill that has moved on to the Ohio Senate could offer property tax relief for homeowners in Ohio.

The Homeowners Relief Act passed the House and is now before the Senate for consideration.

Representative Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, is a co-sponsor of the bill and said with inflation, Ohio property tax relief is needed.

“It’s been one of my top priorities to provide property tax relief for Ohioans here in Mahoning County,” Cutrona said. “Property tax owners, whether that’s seniors, farmers, or others, should not be burdened with both high inflation and rising taxes. I’m optimistic that as this bill moves over to the Senate, we can get a final product that saves money for our taxpayers.”

The Ohio Homeowners Relief Act addresses the sudden increases in property taxes and will modify the procedures used by the Tax Commissioner to conduct property tax sales assessment ratio studies. 

Specifically, the bill will require the Commissioner to work alongside local elected officials and weigh the past three years of a county’s property values in order to determine property taxes instead of just one. 

Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham said that he and the County Auditor’s Association is against the change. He said that a policy change would be a better way to go instead of changing the valuation strategy.

“Any changes in the valuation side, I think, are ill-advised and difficult to impose,” Meacham said. “If they go to a three-year or two-year average, rather than the current market price — we have 88 counties and all of them are on three different cycles. So, how would you address those who are not in the middle of the re-eval? If they impose some freeze on the values, the county auditors don’t feel we’d be able to get the taxes calculated in time for the first collection period next year. There are numerous calculations to be made.”

Meacham said it would impact the timely manner in which school districts and townships receive tax dollars. He said the change is just “kicking the can down the road.”

“If the General Assembly wants to make changes to taxes, they should work on the tax policy side, not on valuations,” Meacham said.

All local counties in our viewing area have undergone property reassessments or are going through the process now. Reassessments use the previous year’s market value of a home. All have seen substantial increases in property valuations, sometimes between 30 and 50%. In many cases, that leads to increased taxes as well.

The unprecedented housing market brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, short supply and extremely low interest rates from 2020 to 2022 fueled rising costs in the housing market. While the market has begun to stabilize, due to increased interest rates, there is still a housing supply shortage which is keeping many costs inflated.