ZANESVILLE – Nationwide analysis shows property taxes have been overstated in low-income minority areas of Zanesville.
As part of the University of Chicago’s National Property Tax Project, a Muskingum County property tax assessment showed that the cheapest homes were assessed at a rate almost twice as high as the most expensive.
David Hamilton, a member of the Muskingum County Social Justice Coalition, will present the findings of the report as well as socio-economic data Monday evening at a think tank on poverty.
MCSJC:Community conversations will explore social justice, various topics
The presentation is accompanied by several recommendations. One is to encourage the Muskingum County Auditor to adopt best practices to avoid property assessment disparities.
“The others are upon us (the coalition) as a community organization, us and our allies, to encourage minority and low-income homeowners in the community and facilitate their attractive appraisals when they feel their homes have been overvalued at. for tax purposes, “Hamilton said.
The UChicago report found that the most expensive homes – those in the county’s highest 10% in terms of market value – were assessed for property taxes at around 17% of their value in 2016. These homes have an average price of $ 595,430.
Homes in the bottom 10%, with an average price of $ 29,410, were taxable at about 32% of their market value.
This means that some people pay more than their fair share of taxes. Owners of the cheapest homes end up paying almost double the rate as those of the more expensive homes.
And in Zanesville, census data shows overvalued homes are found in areas of the city where racial minorities are highest and populations with lowest incomes. This creates inequalities for several reasons.
A house with a lower tax rate becomes more valuable. But if a homeowner pays more than they should, the home’s market value goes down. They end up paying a higher tax rate.
Challenging appraisals can also come at a cost: The Ohio Bar Association encourages property tax protesters to consider hiring a lawyer for help filing a complaint.
In Ohio, statutory auditors are responsible for assessing property taxes on homes every six years. Muskingum County Auditor Debra Nye was unavailable for an interview and did not provide a statement at the Times Recorder’s request.
Muskingum County isn’t the only place in central Ohio where unfair property assessments are common. The Franklin County auditor recently commissioned a similar report to determine which neighborhoods in Columbus are unfairly taxed and found low-income and black communities were affected, the Columbus Dispatch reported last week.
Hamilton highlighted the Franklin County auditor’s approach as a model on how to adopt best practices that can reduce inequalities at the local level.
“What (the coalition cares about) is engaging the community,” Hamilton said. “If the community thinks it’s worth addressing, because it’s clear and because there are some fairly simple things that can be done about it, we will. If other issues are more important. , this is where we will go.
“The purpose of this meeting is to share information and see how it resonates with the people we are trying to reach and for whom we claim to stand up.”
Hamilton will present Property Taxes: The Poor Pay More at the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday think tank at Zanesville High School. The public is invited to participate and discuss.