Auglaize commissioners explore housing issues

By Bryan Reyonlds -

ST. MARYS — How to provide housing for an expected increase in employment in Auglaize and Mercer County was the topic of discussion during an event held by Auglaize County Commissioners at St. Marys Memorial High School.

According to a survey of 43 local businesses released by the Auglaize County Commissioners, 94 percent said they expect an employment increase of less than 25 percent in 2018.

“So what do we do with housing?” said Doug Spencer, Auglaize County Commissioner. “Will we have enough housing for the expected employment growth?”

Half of the employers who responded to the survey said 5o percent of their employees live in the community in which they work. The majority of those employees were looking for apartments, starter homes or mid-value homes.

Part of the reason of the lack of housing goes to developers making a profit from creating new developments and those developments being cost-effective for potential buyers.

Rep. Craig Riedel, R-District 82, said the way the law is right now, developers are charged very high property taxes the moment they purchase property and announce it will be used for residential zoning. If a developer purchased 10 acres of land from a farm and decided to separate that land into 1o single-acre lots, he would be charged residential property tax on each lot right away, Riedel said. The developer would recoup those costs by adding them onto the cost of the homes after they were built. Instead of a buyer paying $175,000, that buyer could pay $275,000.

In order to encourage more residential development, House Bill 371 has been presented in Columbus. The bill would delay property tax charges until the developer either builds and sells a home on the property. Taxes would also be charged if the developer would sell the property itself or if eight years would pass without development on the land.

Another issue with new residential development is finding land for development, said Dan Broering from The Peoples Bank Co.

“Farmers don’t like to sell land to anyone but their son or daughter who will continue to farm it,” he said.

People today also have higher expectations for homes, Auglaize County Commissioner John Burgman said. Instead of wanting the types of homes previous generations wanted, young people will not settle for a $150,000 home, opting instead for homes that are valued at $250,000 or higher.

Broering also pointed out there are not enough construction workers in Auglaize and Mercer Counties currently to meet potential demand.

By Bryan Reyonlds

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.