Aug 10 – GENEVA – Property owners hard hit by the COVID pandemic and government restrictions and regulations have been offered help by Ashtabula County Auditor David Thomas.
Thomas spoke to members of the Geneva Business Association at Luisa’s Mexican Grill last Wednesday.
“Last year, by changing the value for property tax purposes, the state created an opportunity to exempt companies affected by COVID from property tax,” said Thomas.
The property tax relief results from the adoption of SB 57 in April, which came into force this month. Those companies that filed complaints to the Audit Committee in 2021 did so with an effective date of January 1, 2020, which was prior to the pandemic. Corporations can now notify the auditor of their desire to use October 1, 2020 as the updated deadline for the value by filing a COVID Board of Revision form by September 2, 2021.
“This bill helps resolve some issues that commercial property owners face when it comes to property value complaints due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Thomas. “One of the reasons I have come out so loudly against the government abuse we’ve seen on health ordinances and restrictions is because many companies have been badly injured, and I’m grateful that lawmakers are taking steps to address this Companies continue to help. “
Thomas used an example of a local restaurant that was closed for all of 2020 and part of 2021 due to health restrictions. If placed in the real estate market, the company’s market value could have been negatively impacted during the shutdown, Thomas said.
The audit office will examine every complaint and deal with any changes in value through the audit committee.
“However, one of the problems with government using real estate values and taxes to relieve the burden is that our real estate market is the hottest in a long time,” said Thomas. He discussed examples of property sales and market growth even at the height of the pandemic.
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Thomas also provided homeowner and rental assistance resources for attendees. Community Action has millions of dollars available for local residents in need of rent, utilities, or mortgage assistance, he said.
“I have heard of many landlords who could not collect rent and are now financially damaged by it,” he said. “Landlords, landowners, anyone who is having trouble should call 211 or visit the Ashtabula County Community Action website for information on how to get help for others or yourself.”
Community Action is the recipient of federal and state grants designed to aid those who have been economically harmed by COVID and the health restrictions in the past year and a half. Those who want to learn more should call 211 or visit their website.
Thomas urges residents with questions about this COVID Audit Committee change or other concerns related to the value and tax credit to contact the auditor at 440-576-3785 to learn more.