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Assessment appeals reduce Butler County revenue by $300,000

Butler County Government Center
Both the Butler County District Attorney’s office and Public Defenders’ office have called back their attorneys to catch up with proceedings for the eventual reopening of the court system. Butler County’s courtrooms are entered through the county government building.Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle

Appeals of the assessed value of commercial properties across the county this year will have a $300,000 impact on real estate tax revenue in the 2024 budget, a county official said Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Owners of hotels and other commercial properties filed numerous assessment appeals based on business losses that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those appeals have an impact on property tax revenue anticipated in next year’s budget.

The $300,000 tax impact includes $180,000 the county paid in refunds of taxes paid by the property owners through 2022, said Ann Brown, county budget director.

On Wednesday, the county commissioners approved the settlement of an assessment appeal filed in 2021 by Lowe’s Home Center in Butler Township. The out-of-court settlement reduces the store’s original fair market value of $9.49 million to $8.78 million for 2021, $8.85 million for 2022, $9 million for 2023 and $9.23 million for 2024.

Overall, the assessment appeals decreased the value of property in the county by almost $5 million, according to the county’s proposed budget the commissioners approved Nov. 15.

Commissioner Kevin Boozel said Wednesday assessment appeals’ impact on the budget would be more significant if it weren’t for growth in the economy.

“If we didn’t have the growth it would really be hurting our tax revenue, but they’re balancing out,” he said.

Leslie Osche, commissioners chairwoman, said most of the appeals have been filed by hotels that experienced business losses during the pandemic. The fair market values of hotels and other businesses include their profits, she said.

Solicitor Julie Graham said the county works with the school districts and municipalities where the businesses are located when settling appeals.

Retroactive appeals of assessments are challenging because they go back several years and can result in multiple year adjustments, she said.

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