Memorial Day tornadoes’ toll: $46.3M in lost property values, schools to lose big

Published: Monday, November 18, 2019 @ 9:46 AM
Updated: Monday, November 18, 2019 @ 5:07 PM

From left, Malyssa Suarez and Steve Cooper, both with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Hossain, of the Small Business Administration, and Brigitte Bouska, with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, conduct a joint preliminary assessment of tornado-damaged buildings on Wednesday, June 5, at the Woodland Hills Apartments in Trotwood. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Chris Stewart
From left, Malyssa Suarez and Steve Cooper, both with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Hossain, of the Small Business Administration, and Brigitte Bouska, with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, conduct a joint preliminary assessment of tornado-damaged buildings on Wednesday, June 5, at the Woodland Hills Apartments in Trotwood. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Montgomery County property values dropped by $46.3 million for tornado-damaged homes and businesses, wiping away $1.7 million in anticipated 2020 tax revenues for schools, townships and cities, the county auditor revealed Monday.

School districts alone will see a drop of more than $900,000, including $320,000 for the Trotwood-Madison Schools, the most for an area district.

“The devastation we have seen is shocking and heartbreaking,” Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said. “The results we are reporting today represent tragic losses to homeowners and their families, to business owners and their employees, and to the entire community.”

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The loss for Trotwood-Madison wasn’t surprising, said Janice Allen, the school district’s treasurer.

“But it was a little more than we anticipated,” she said.

The district will review its budget in February to see where it can be tightened, Allen said. The district received about $6.9 million from property taxes this fiscal year. The bulk of the district’s $45.6 million budget flows through the state.

“Any reduction in revenue is a concern because obviously we have to look out even further than just this year,” she said. “I have to make sure we have monies that will take us far into the future.”

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The loss to Dayton Public Schools is pegged at $248,000 and $121,000 for Northridge Local Schools. The tornado damage also cost Brookville, Northmont, Vandalia and Mad River schools tens of thousands of dollars each.

Total property tax value in the county was more than $26 billion following the 2017 triennial update, Keith said.

A record 15 tornadoes hit southwest Ohio on Memorial Day, including four that damaged Montgomery County. The most destructive, rated an EF4 by the National Weather Service, tore a swath from Brookville to Riverside.

In all, the Memorial Day twisters affected more than 4,400 parcels of property in Montgomery County — destroying or inflicting major damage to 915 — according to data assembled by the auditor’s office.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Thousands of tornado-damaged properties identified in 3-county area

According to the auditor, more than 1,260 property owners so far have applied for a reduction to their 2019 taxes, lowering property values countywide by

Many more could be in line to pay less in property taxes, extending the long-term implications for school districts and local jurisdictions.

“There are probably hundreds of property owners who are eligible to receive a reduction in value who did not complete an application form, for whatever reason,” Keith said.

Because property taxes in Ohio are paid a year in arrears, the effect of the losses will be seen beginning next year. Tax bills that property owners initially received this year were based on the condition of the properties as they were on Jan. 1, 2018, according to the auditor’s office.

Tax impact from Memorial Day tornadoes   
CITIESApplications receivedTotal reduction in taxable valueTax revenue loss
Trotwood418-$18,430,000-$151,000
Dayton205-$7,892,000-$28,000
Brookville99-$3,173,000-$1,000
Clayton33-$2,102,000-$8,000
Vandalia16-$2,306,000-$3,000
Riverside13-$1,145,000-$4,000
Englewood7-$221,000-$435
SCHOOLS Applications receivedTotal reduction in taxable valueTax revenue loss
Trotwood-Madison City Schools394-$16,773,000-$320,000
Dayton Public Schools374-$10,635,000-$248,000
Northridge Local Schools236-$5,625,000-$121,000
Brookville Local Schools134-$4,409,000-$63,000
Vandalia Bulter City Schools 59-$3,822,000-$61,000
Northmont City Schools52-$3,741,000-$72,000
Mad River Local Schools13-$1,145,000-$23,000
TOWNSHIPSApplications receivedTotal reduction in taxable valueTax revenue loss
Harrison Twp. 401-$8,353,000-$126,000
Perry Twp.121-$3,987,000-$6,000
Butler Twp.43-$1,516,000-$11,000
Clay Twp.6-$234,000-$1,000
OTHER GOVERNMENTSApplications receivedTotal reduction in taxable valueTax revenue loss
Human Services Levy1,268-$46,265,000-$223,000
Sinclair Community College1,268-$46,265,000-$66,000
Dayton Metro Library1,267-$46,254,000-$53,000
Miami Valley Career Technology Center881-$34,485,000-$46,000
MetroParks1,268-$46,265,000-$32,000
Montgomery County1,268-$46,265,000-$28,000
Developmental Disabilities1,268-$46,265,000-$6,000
TOTALApplications receivedTotal reduction in taxable valueTax revenue loss
Total1,268-$46,260,000-$1,700,000
Source: Montgomery County Auditor's Office   

As properties are rebuilt and recovery takes hold, Keith said values will be adjusted.

“Ongoing, as people do repairs and rebuild and renovate and go through that process, we will pick those up on an annual basis as part of our new construction process,” he said. “So we anticipate we will pick up some of the value as time goes on … There is going to be a give-and-take of this for a long time.”

PHOTOS: Tornado outbreak in Miami Valley

Only about 9% of the properties damaged in the county were commercial or industrial, according to the data, but they account for $711,974 — or about 42% — of the property tax revenue loss.

The county auditor’s office damage map shows nearly 10% of Trotwood’s parcels, or more than 1,100 were, affected by the tornado. The assessment showed nearly 15% of all property parcels in Harrison Twp. sustained damage, about 370 either destroyed or with major structural damage.

Among local governments, Trotwood is estimated to lose $151,000 while Harrison Twp. can expect $126,000 less in property tax revenue next year.

Other local governments that will see slighter revenue decreases include Brookville, Butler Twp., Clayton, Clay Twp., Dayton, Englewood, Perry Twp., Riverside and Vandalia.

MORE: Thousands more denied than awarded FEMA grants

Revenue losses will also affect the Dayton Metro Library, Five Rivers MetroParks, Sinclair Community College and other entities funded by property taxes in the county, including the Human Services Levy, which will be reduced by $223,000.

Following the tornadoes, the auditor’s office provided a program to help owners reduce the tax value of property and later employed sophisticated technology to map the damage to homes and businesses.

Aerial images were made of properties in March during part of the county’s normal revaluation process. But when the National Weather Service upgraded the most damaging tornado to an EF4, a contract provision kicked in requiring the vendor to re-fly the area at no cost.

The imagery revealed damage to parcels not initially reported as affected, Keith said. In all, 17 auditor’s office employees in five departments scrutinized about 14,000 of the county’s 250,000 parcels.

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TORNADO RECOVERY

The Dayton Daily News is investigating obstacles to recovery for survivors of this year’s Memorial Day tornadoes, and exploring opportunities for our region to rebuild stronger. As part of this effort, reporters Josh Sweigart and Chris Stewart, along with Storm Center 7’s Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs are walking the path of the largest tornado that touched down that night. Together they are getting a close look at the damage and talking to survivors. Find our coverage at DaytonDailyNews.com/Tornado.