SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Summit County homeowners are getting a big shock when they open their mail. Property values across the county are increasing by more than 30%.

Even the county’s fiscal officer office calls the rise in values “historic.”

Higher property values usually mean higher property taxes, and that’s what many homeowners are concerned about.  

According to the letter sent out by the Summit County fiscal officer, the Ohio Department of Taxation has ordered counties across the state to increase values, some as much as 43%.

Gerald Braden, 69, is a classical and orchestral music composer on a fixed income, who has lived in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood since 2007. But no doubt, he was singing the blues when he received this letter in the mail from the Summit County Fiscal Office.

It states that next year, his property value will jump from $90,000 to almost $200,000.

“I just want to live here, compose my music, enjoy the rest of my life, OK, but it’s like sharks biting at your toes all the time, you know what I mean? How can I not be ticked off about this?” said Braden.

According to a letter sent by Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise, the Ohio Department of Taxation ordered a 34% increase countywide. But she says the state accepted the county’s proposed lower increase of 31.4%.

“It says in the letter, just because we appraise your home, maybe if we double your appraisal, it doesn’t exactly mean that we’re going to double your property taxes. So they always have some kind of gobbledygook,” Braden said.

Also in the letter, Scalise states, “I understand the potential financial impact this triennial update may have on our community. Please recognize that by law, my office sets your property’s market value. My office does not determine the amount of property taxes to be assessed. When Columbus says ‘no, no, no’ she fought them and fought them and they said ‘no, no, no, no, you’re going to pay what we tell you to pay, you know, what’s she supposed to do.”

Braden has fought a similar battle before.

In 2020, during the pandemic, when he was out of work, he says the county tried to increase the value of his property from $96,000 to $148,000, but after appealing, the county ruled in his favor, lowering the value to $90,000.

“They’re giving so many tax cuts to all the billionaires and multi-millionaires. They have to run the government, they have to get tax money from somewhere,” said Braden.

Braden says he plans to fight again and hopes other residents join him.

“I’m going to try to gather people. If I have to walk door-to-door to take signatures or whatever I need to do to try to get the state to have some type of responsible taxing method,” he said.

Kristen Scalise was not available to speak with FOX 8 Thursday afternoon, and as of Thursday night, we have not heard back from the Ohio Department of Taxation.

We reached out to Cuyahoga County officials, who say they are unaware of any giant property tax increases for their residents.

Higher property values can be a good thing, especially if you are selling your home, but a realtor tells FOX 8 that could also shrink the pool of people able to afford to buy it.

If you’re a concerned Summit County resident, you can ask questions virtually or by phone.   Appointments can be made on their website.

You can also ask questions at in person at nine meetings scheduled across the county in August and September:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 15: Barberton Active Adult Center; 500 W. Hopocan Ave., Barberton
  • Wednesday, Aug. 16: Stow City Hall Council Chambers; 3760 Darrow Rd., Stow
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22: Tallmadge Community Center Hall; 80 Community Rd., Tallmadge
  • Wednesday, Aug. 23: Fairlawn Kiwanis Community Center; 3486 S. Smith Rd., Fairlawn
  • Tuesday, Aug. 29: Twinsburg Community Center; 10260 Ravenna Rd., Twinsburg
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30: Firestone Park Community Center; 1480 Girard St., Akron
  • Tuesday, Sept. 5: Cuyahoga Falls Lions Park Lodge; 641 Silver Lake Ave., Cuyahoga Falls
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19: Green Central Park Community Hall; 1755 Town Park Blvd., Green
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20: Richfield Village Hall Council Chambers; 4410 W Streetsboro Rd., Richfield