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La Liga de Las Americas

Lucas County Auditor candidates front and center as race heats up

La Prensa Staff

The two candidates for Lucas County Auditor, Republican incumbent Larry Kaczala and Democratic challenger Lucas County Recorder Anita López, went before the press and the cameras last week in order to woo votes for the upcoming November general election.

Lucas County Redorder Anita Lopez  with Martha Sloan

Early in the week, López, accompanied by two angry homeowners, called for a town hall meeting to discuss how the county’s appraisal system can be fixed.

“It’s important to question the appraisal process,” said López. “The burden should not be placed on Lucas County residents. The system is broken and I’m determined to make it better.”

López brought with her to the news conference Springfield Township homeowners Vicki Haupricht and Martha Sloan who spoke of their difficulties with their home appraisals by the Auditor’s Office and the problems they have encountered in getting the allegedly erroneous appraisals corrected.

Haupricht noted that one of her properties’ values had been increased from $166,000 to $274,000. Haupricht continued that her efforts at reversing the increase have been rebuffed in several meetings with the Auditor’s Office staff.

López has called a town hall meeting for September 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the United Building Trades Group, 4652 Lewis Avenue.

“These types of errors should be found before bringing it to the public,” said López who stated that she had received approximately 100 complaints in recent weeks about the appraisals.

“The County Auditor has had 13 years in office and it’s time for a change.”

Kaczala discusses REA Fund

At the end of the week, Kaczala held his own press conference to announce that his office’s revaluation had come in more than $1.1 million under budget and the excess funds would be returned to the county’s 11 school districts, 13 agencies and the various cities, townships and villages.

The money comes from the Real Estate Assessment Fund – REA Fund – which is separate from the county’s general fund. The REA Fund is used to pay for state-mandated revaluation of all properties. The Auditor’s Office collects about $2.7 million per year for the REA Fund.

The money comes to the auditor’s office from agencies or school districts that collect property taxes. The agencies pay a fee to the office for collecting the taxes.

State law requires that surplus REA funds must be returned to agencies and district supported by voted tax levies. One of the big winners in the official rebate is Toledo Public Schools. The school district will receive $253,751.32.

Kaczala explained that his office took the action at this time because of the levies that were placed on the ballot in the spring and the impending levies on the November ballot. His office, he said, has known about the surplus for about three weeks.

During his press conference, Kaczala also addressed the issue of appraisal complaints raised by López earlier in the week.

“More than 5,000 people, or about two percent, have asked for reappraisals,” said Kaczala. “They can then file for an informal review and probably 80 to 90 percent will be granted.” Those who are not granted re-appraisals can seek a formal appeal, said Kaczala, and in about 80 percent of those cases, the reappraisals are granted as well.

“Whether we lower values or not, it does not affect the tax base, that’s why we are so willing to lower appraisals,” he added.






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