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Residents in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood pledge to fight Cuyahoga property value reappraisals

Posted at 11:33 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 07:08:24-04

Homeowners in two major Cleveland neighborhoods are preparing to fight against recent Cuyahoga County property reappraisals. They believe the values are shockingly high and unfair.

Residents living in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, and with the Tremont Lincoln Heights Block Club, contacted News 5 after they received home reappraisal increases of 50 to 400 percent.

Homeowner Bobby Larsen, who has lived in her neighborhood for 67 years, said a property value increase of 200 percent, could drive up her property taxes to the point where she and other neighbors could be forced to sell their homes.

"I could definitely lose my home, along with a lot my friends here," Larsen said.

"How am I supposed to find all this extra money, like other seniors, I'm living on a fixed income."

Renters, like Fatimah Johnson, are also concerned the dramatic increase in home value and property taxes, could drive up rent costs.

"If my landlord can't pay the taxes, it's going to push him out, that means I got to go, and I don't know what will happen to me," Johnson explained.

But Lisa Rocco, Director of Operations with the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office, told News 5 property value increases don't necessarily mean a property tax hike at the same level.

Rocco said all property reappraisals were determined using guidelines set by the State of Ohio, and that increases in property values were approved by the state.

"Just because their value went up, doesn't necessarily mean their taxes are going up," Rocco said.

"We follow, the state follows, the International Association of Assessing Officers."

"We had to send in quarterly reports, and then we had to send in our final values in June, which the state then reviewed against their own statistics."

Rocco said reappraisals are based on the Ohio Administrative Codethe county must follow when it submits its reappraisal plan.

Rocco said homeowners can fight their 2018 reappraisal, though informal tax meetings, or by filing a formal complaint with the board of revision starting in December.

Meanwhile, block club leaders like Henry Senyak, believe residents should demand both state and county guidelines be re-examined.

"In some cases, people's property taxes have gone up 200%, I have a gentleman behind me at 400%," Senyak said.

"Because whatever guidelines they're going by, there's no uniformity to it," he said.