Upper Arlington News

City notes

No surprise that home ownership is valued in UA

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A couple of things came across my desk this week that I thought were worth sharing in today's column.

The first was a piece of good news about property sales in Upper Arlington. This is a community that has always had a strong real estate market. We know our excellent public schools and strong public services contribute to the favorable real estate sales climate.

The Columbus Realtors' Upper Arlington school district housing sales data show that for the previous six-month period, single-family homes have been selling faster and at a higher price than they did during the same time period a year ago.

To put some numbers to this trend, homes have been selling an average of 15 days faster than they were selling last year and at an average increase of $15 more per square foot.

We know that this data, when compared to most of the other jurisdictions in central Ohio, make Upper Arlington look like a good investment -- a fact that will come as no surprise to most people living here.

Indeed, the proof of residents' continued belief in the value of owning a home here is clearly demonstrated by the high numbers of major home renovations that take place year after year.

The other timely item of interest is the recently completed updated triennial property assessment by the Franklin County Auditor's Office. The positive movement in the property sales data I have already shared also is reflected in these triennial reassessments.

Few issues are as complicated as sorting out the relationship between an increase in property values through reassessment and the resulting tax bills. If you visit the auditor's website, franklincountyauditor.com, or specifically, http://64.79.95.218/informal_2014/TaxRates, you will find the following explanation:

"Even with your new tentative property value from the 2014 triennial, you are likely to see no (change) to marginal change in the amount of property taxes you pay during 2014."

Changes differ from one jurisdiction to another, but the website goes on to point out that, "Generally, we apply a rule of thumb as follows: If your value changes at the same rate as the average value change in your taxing district, up or down, you will see very little shift in your taxes."

A big reason for this is the fact that tax rates are adjusted to collect the same amount as was collected previously for all voted millage, so when home values go up, as a rule, the effective millage rate goes down and your actual payment stays about the same.

Program reminder

If your household has not already taken advantage of the opportunity to save money, save energy and support our community through the Energy Savers Program, we ask that you consider doing so before the new program deadline of Sunday, Sept. 7.

Our goal for the program is to have 900 households participate in one or more of AEP Ohio's energy efficiency programs by then. To date, approximately 680 households have taken up the challenge. This puts us at the 76-percent participation mark -- an impressive number -- but with just over one week left, now is the time to get involved and do your part.

If we reach our goal, the community will qualify for a $90,000 grant from AEP Ohio, which will be used to install energy-efficient LED lighting in the Northam Park parking lot as part of its reconstruction. This upgrade will benefit Tremont Elementary School, Northam Park, Tremont pool, Tremont library and Northam Park tennis-court users alike while saving the city money in energy usage moving forward.

To get started, look for the Energy Savers link on our homepage, uaoh.net. The link will take you to a page that lists qualifying energy-efficiency programs as well as rebates offered and other benefits.

The more programs your household participates in, the closer we will get to our goal.

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.

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