wtf? is a series of posts dedicated to holding a spotlight on the mysterious and un-explainable decisions of the Hamilton County Board of Revision
Based on a tip from an astute reader, today we venture outside the city center to Ashland Avenue in Walnut Hills. While analysis has previously focused on expensive commercial properties, it turns out the Board has also made puzzling decisions regarding modest residential properties as well.
The 9 room, 2,163 square foot house with two full baths at 2629 Ashland was valued at $52,180 during the last reappraisal in 2011. Held by the same owner since 1990, in 2013 it was sold to a church-owned development company for $2,000 who sold it to a renter for the same amount they paid. On August 15, 2013 a complaint was filed with the Board of Revision, asking for a reduction in value to the sale amount, which was granted When I asked Susan Silver, chief of administration for the Hamilton County Auditor, for a recording of the hearing, she explained there had never been one.
“This matter was an “expedited hearing” meaning the complainant received a letter from the Board of Revision, after our staff appraiser reviewed the complaint and information available to him about the property, indicating the Auditor’s Real Estate Department agreed with the complainant that the subject property’s “sale price best represents the fair market value for the parcel and will recommend this to the Board of Revision on the hearing date.” In “expedited” cases, the complainant need not come in unless he/she wishes to do so. . . .On the particular case/parcel you have asked about, the complainant does not seem to have appeared (based on the record) and no questions or concerns were raised. The $2000 proposed value was approved by the Board.”
Is that fair to the next door neighbors at 2627 Ashland whose house is valued for $54,780, $7,370 of which is for the land (as opposed to a $500 land value on 2629 Ashland). Or the owners of the condos in the old public school across the street that sold for $134,000 – $197,000?.
The problem that brought attention to the valuation issue is the current less-than-stellar owner. On an otherwise quiet street of nice families, this house has become an eyesore with a lot of unexplained comings and goings in the middle of the night that appear to be drug-related. When the Board of Revision reduced the property tax liability to almost nothing, they made sure this house was so ridiculously affordable that the one bad apple on the street will probably stay there forever, ruining the neighborhood for the hard working families who are paying their fair share of taxes.