AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Residents streamed into the Barberton YMCA building on Tuesday eager to dispute dramatic new property appraisals in Summit County.

Earlier this month, the county fiscal office mailed notices to more than 230,000 property owners after increasing property values in what is called a triennial (every three year) update.

“For residential, the state ordered us to go to 34% increase. That’s an aggregate increase across all residential property within the county. We did our own study and requested that we raise values to approximately 31.4%. The state did accept that new evaluation,” said Dominic Basile, the director of real estate and appraisal for the county.

For Tuesday’s first meeting, the county scheduled 120 appointments, but also accepted walk-ins.

Residents streamed in throughout the afternoon, starting as soon as the doors opened at 1 p.m.

“It went up 39% is what he’s saying, the value, and I just think there’s no way,” said Peter Venturini of Norton, whose home was built in 1961 but said numerous other newer homes had been built around it.

Many of those who were there to dispute the new appraisals are on fixed incomes and worried about their taxes.

“Both us are just on social security and they did go up quite a lot on our taxes of the lot. It’s just that, we have to eat too,” said Darlene Shenkenberger of Akron, whose husband said they disputed an appraisal three years ago and the county agreed with their assessment.

“This is mass appraisal. This is why we are out here is to offer people the opportunity to come to us and say, ‘something doesn’t look right. I’d like you to take a second look at this,'” said Basile.

“If that new value doesn’t seem appropriate to you, if you don’t think it would actually sell on the open market for the new value that we have issued, please let us know. You can call our office, email, we have a dashboard up where you can schedule appointments,” he added.

“We are not informed as far as repairs, more bathrooms than what’s stated on the property card, finished basement, no finished basement, deck, no deck, garage there are a number of different areas that affect a property’s value ,” said Jay Curry, Director of the Services Division in the county’s Fiscal office.

The one question no one from the fiscal office could answer on Tuesday was what the new appraisals would do to taxes.

“What we can tell people right now is that the only thing we are certain of is it should not increase in proportion to their value,” said Basile.

Most people leaving meetings on Tuesday were pleased that, at the very least, someone was listening.

“I’m feeling so good now. I can’t believe it because they did great. Everyone. The guy was awesome here, he answered all my questions,” said Venturini, who provided photos of his home as evidence it should be valued lower than the county’s appraisal.

The Summit County fiscal office has eight more meetings scheduled through the end of September, which is the deadline for filing a dispute:

  • 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