Data from the Franklin County Auditor's Office show residential property values for Grove City and South-Western City School District shrinking by nearly 12 percent.

Data from the Franklin County Auditor's Office show residential property values for Grove City and South-Western City School District shrinking by nearly 12 percent.

According to a July 9 report of tentative values from the auditor's office, Grove City residential properties decreased by 11.96 percent, while residential properties within the SWCS district decreased by 11.77 percent.

SWCS treasurer Hugh Garside Jr. said the district in May anticipated about a $600,000 property tax decrease.

"With the trend in housing, we were predicting that the values were going down," he said, saying that appears to be happening.

Garside said the district's predictions "shouldn't be far off" from actual results. The first full collection of property tax revenue from the first half of the 2011 calendar year will come in February.

The district receives about $87 million a year in property tax revenue.

Garside said the district has adjusted its revenue spending to account for the property value decrease. "Our guess was accurate this time," he said.

The district has taken a number of steps to cut costs in recent years. About 400 staff positions have been cut to deal with state and federal funding decreases and the phasing out of personal property taxes, said district executive director of communications Sandra Nekoloff.

Additionally, unions representing district employees have accepted pay freezes.

"There's not a position in the district that doesn't affect what we deliver to our children," Garside said, saying the district tries to avoid eliminating teachers who work in the classroom.

In recent decades, ever-increasing property values have driven down the effective millage collection rates on a number of levies.

That happened because Ohio law limits the money raised by a levy to the amount specified when voters approved the levy.

Now that property values are plunging, effective millage rates on school levies might increase, Garside said. The overall dollar amounts collected would be about the same.

Also staying about the same would be the amounts individual homeowners pay.

The Ohio Department of Taxation is expected to finalize effective millage rates in December.

Grove City finance director Mike Turner said the city has expected a 10-percent decrease in property tax revenue this year. The city receives close to $3 million in property tax revenue annually.

That money is distributed fairly evenly between the general fund, the police pension fund and the debt service fund.

Property tax isn't a major source of revenue for the city, Turner said.

Still, combined with other losses such as cuts in state funding, "they all add up," he said. The 2012 budget will be presented to council by the beginning of December.

Residents who have questions or want to contest the new valuations may attend an informal review scheduled by the Franklin County auditor's office.

Grove City's session will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13, Grove City No. 37 Elks, 2140 Sonora Drive, Grove City.