Recently the Hamilton County auditor’s office updated property valuations for all residences in the county. This update happens every three years and is required by state law. While Mariemont City Schools is not a part of this process, we have received questions regarding the update and how it impacts the property taxes received by the district so I want to provide some additional information and clarification.
Residential property values in the Mariemont City School District increased by an average of 13 percent with this most recent update, and this was in line with the increase seen throughout all of Hamilton County. It would be easy to look at a 13 percent valuation increase and think there was a corresponding increase to the money the school district collects, but this isn’t true. Additionally, homeowners should be aware that the increase in property valuation does not necessarily equate to the percentage of change in property taxes. In fact, Hamilton County auditor Dusty Rhodes states, “just because your property value has increased, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll face a similar increase in property taxes.”
So why doesn’t the school district see a 13 percent increase in revenue? By state law (House Bill 920 enacted in 1976), voted taxes cannot increase despite inflation, and House Bill 920 does this in two ways. First, House Bill 920 prohibits the school district (and the other entities receiving your property tax dollars) from collecting any more voted tax dollars than what has been approved by voters, even when property values increase, so voted millage is actually reduced to accomplish this.
Second, HB 920 redistributes the amount each resident pays of the community’s voted tax by finding the community’s average property valuation increase. For example, if a property’s value increased more than the community average, that resident’s share of the voted taxes owed will increase. If a property’s value increased less than the community average, that resident’s voted taxes owed will decrease. But again, at the end of the day, the school district collects the same amount of voted dollars as it did before the most recent tax value update.
A portion of the tax rate called “inside millage” is not affected by House Bill 920 and does generate a small amount of additional revenue for the school district and other entities such as cities and townships collecting property dollars when valuations increase. Although every dollar counts, the inside millage that grows generates a much smaller amount of revenue for the school district compared to the voted millage that HB 920 limits.
Overall, I think we can all agree that property valuation increases throughout the district is a good thing for homeowners and a direct reflection of the investment the community is making in its schools. This district continues to be a highly sought-after place to live and homes are selling at a higher value because of it. Additionally, we remain committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency. We are continually seeking opportunities to reduce expenditures to operate as efficiently as possible while meeting the expectations of our community for exceptional service and results.
I hope this answers some of your questions regarding the new property valuations. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions regarding school finance or how community property valuations affect the school district.
It is my pleasure to partner with you at Mariemont City Schools!