County auditor Mike Smith and county treasurer Scott Ryan spoke Aug. 20 about local financial issues and recent property valuations during a continuing series of Saturday morning meetings of the Etna Township trustees.

County auditor Mike Smith and county treasurer Scott Ryan spoke Aug. 20 about local financial issues and recent property valuations during a continuing series of Saturday morning meetings of the Etna Township trustees.

Smith told the trustees a reallocation of inside millage, the basic 1 percent or 10-mill unvoted property tax allowed by the Ohio Constitution, should result in Etna Township enjoying some additional revenue next year.

"It should mean about $55,000 next year for Etna Township," Smith said.

Smith said the county budget commission, which includes the county prosecutor, the auditor and the treasurer, would also review the formula used in the county to allocate money from the Ohio Local Government Fund. The funds then are allocated to all the political subdivisions.

The formula was last revised in 1971, Smith said. It can be changed only if the commissioners agree and the city of Newark agrees to change it.

"I'm cautiously optimistic the commissioners would be willing to do something," Smith said. "Etna Township would be a winner, Pataskala, Licking Township and Liberty Township. The losers would be Granville village, the county and the city of Newark. I don't think the numbers are that dramatic."

Smith also reported on property valuations that were recently completed. Values in Cumberland Trail are down 10 percent from the previous valuation, and Cameron Chase values are down 7 percent.

"That does not mean every property is down, but as a whole, the aggregate valuation is down," Smith said. "Our goal is to reflect what the market value truly is."

Smith said property owners would receive a letter advising them of their individual property valuations, and a series of public meetings will be held at which residents may discuss the valuations with the auditor's staff.

Ryan said the treasurer's office was redesigning taxpayer bills to provide more explanation of outdated terminology and also providing additional electronic means of payment.

"It saves the county postage and printing," Ryan said. "It's not mandatory, but it's good if 'green' issues are your concern."

Ryan said the treasurer's office would also have slightly extended hours, to 5:30 p.m. on select days, as a convenience for residents whose work schedule makes it difficult to come to the office during work hours.