SIDNEY — “I’ll start with a brief report on 2020 funds. Due to the CARES Act funds that were allocated to Shelby County via HB 481 and HB 614, local governments were offered the opportunity to accept a portion of those funds to be used for COVID-19 related expenses,” said Shelby County Auditor Amy Berning. “The state of Ohio dictated the formula that determined how much money was to be allotted to each political subdivision (county, city, township, village).

“The grand total received from the state was $6,159,639, of which the county was allocated $3,279,398. The balance of $2,880,241 was split between the city of Sidney and any village or township who had eligible COVID-19 expenses. Again, let me point out that these funds could only be used on COVID-19 expenses.”

Berning’s report continues:

One of the eligible COVID-19 expenses was a “Small Business Grant” program to which both the county and the city of Sidney contributed. Thirty small businesses received financial assistance through this program, helping to cover some expenses after being hit with shutdowns and slow downs due to the pandemic. The commissioners and other elected officials felt it was important to create the grant program to try to protect our valuable small businesses from disappearing in Shelby County.

The county revenue which funds many important departments such as the Sheriff’s office, Courts, Children’s Services, Veterans’ Services, etc. had a better year than expected. The county took measures to reduce payroll expenses early in the pandemic and then received a large refund from Workers Comp while also mitigating COVID-related costs using the CARES Act funds. Sales tax revenue was $62K below original projections and casino tax revenue was $87K below, but at the outset of the pandemic we thought it might get much worse. The county is proceeding conservatively, unsure how the economy will look in 2021, and saving up funds for updating the 911 system which will likely cost over $4 million.

In the Auditor’s Office, we are undertaking a software conversion which has already contributed some new features to our website. After you do a search to pull up a property, you have several screens of information to choose from. One of those is called “Levy Distribution,” which shows where your tax dollars go, in pie chart form. Some of the other options are: current tax, tax payment history, value history, and a tax estimator. You may also like to select the “Map” option which will show a photo of the front of the house as well as its place on the map of the county. If you have never utilized the Shelby County Auditor website, you may find it to be a great way to find someone’s address!

As reported recently, Shelby County held its Triennial Update in 2020, which is reflected on the 2021 real estate tax bills. Due to increased values with the strong real estate market, the state of Ohio found that values had risen by 20% in Shelby County as well as in most of the other counties across the state. A lot of county auditors, if not all of them, attempted to prove to the Ohio Department of Taxation that values should not be raised that much. The state uses sales data and expects counties to bring their values in line with that data, which is adjusted on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

We really do not want to raise anyone’s taxes, but the Ohio Revised Code mandates that the values be reviewed every three years to make them as accurate as possible according to the sales data. Our office sets the value of the properties, and then the millage rates of all the levies for the corresponding tax district are applied to those values.

Real Estate values are set according to the general facts about a property, and the inside of a house is assumed to be average. If you feel that the condition of your house or some other unseen factor causes your property to be worth less than the value listed on the auditor’s website, you can file a “Board of Revision Complaint” between Jan. 1 and March 31 each year. This complaint form is found in the “Board of Revision” option on the home page of the Shelby County Auditor’s website. As always, feel free to contact the Shelby County Auditor’s office with any questions you may have.