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Thousands of Stark County residents upset over county home valuations filing appeals

Posted at 4:42 PM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 06:55:18-04

For Bev Bevington, a case of sticker shock came in the mail after she opened up the county's valuation of her Plain Township home.

"My heart almost stopped," Bevington said.

The Stark County Auditor's Office increased the value of her property from $164,200 to $186,800.

That also means Bevington, 65, would be looking at a much steeper property tax bill.

"There's only so much, only so much of a limit, that senior citizens and the property owner can take. There's only so much and then the well goes dry," she said.

Jim Gillilan, 74, of Plain Township, was also stunned by his new appraisal. It jumped by nearly 15 percent from $115,200 to $132,000. He was told his property tax bill would go up by more than $300.

"I just think it's unfair. It's ridiculous," Gillilan said. "We're on fixed incomes and it's unfair really."

Both Bevington and Gillilan said few updates have been done to their homes, which are in need of major improvements.

Gillilan said there are cracks in his garage and basement. Bevington said she needs wiring and a new furnace.

They are among 3,700 Stark County residents who have appealed the values of their homes.

Stark County Auditor Alan Harold said property record cards, including improvements made to homes, are reviewed before values are determined.

Harold said an upward trend of home sales is a major reason that many are seeing a rise in property values.

"Houses, largely over the last three years, sales have increased in almost all of our residential neighborhoods," Harold said.

Still, the auditor understands the concerns of homeowners. Answers to questions about the process have been posted on-line. The deadline to appeal, which was supposed to expire last weekend, has been extended until this Friday.

"Recognizing the importance of allowing people to give us feedback is really important to our office," he said.

Final decisions on property values will be made by November.