Understanding Your Property Tax Bill

It didn’t dawn on me until recently that not everyone receives a tax bill in the mail. For many people with mortgages, their property tax bill is sent directly to their mortgage company, and is built in to their mortgage payments. Every resident no matter where their tax bill is mailed can go to the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s website and see how much their tax bill is.   Homeowners can look up their property by last name, parcel number, or address. There are 7 tabs along the top once you are to your record. If you click on the “tax” tab you can see the assessed value of your home, the tax rate, and charges. Other tabs show you the transfer history, lot size and house size. Your property tax information can also be found on the Cuyahoga County Treasurer’s website. The Treasure’s website show’s the special assessments, but unfortunately not the breakdown of tax distribution. 

A tax bill however breaks the information down farther showing you the tax distribution and “special assessments”. You may be able to get a copy by calling your mortgage company.

Special Assessments

On my Maple Heights tax bill there is a special assessment of $90.90 per half for garbage and recycling. This entitles residents to and unlimited amount of trash and plant material to be placed curbside as well as recycling. No cans are provided, just blue recycling bags. There is also a $56.25 fee per half for “sanitary engineer”.

Maple Heights Property Tax BillTax Distribution

The tax distribution is based on levies. The tax bill shows what percentage of your property tax goes to each of the following:

56.25%  Schools (Maple Heights City Schools)
20.42% Municipality (MAPLE HEIGHTS)
17.6%     County (CUYAHOGA)
3.29%     Library (CCPL)
2.44%    MetroParks

As you can see in Maple Heights for the first half of 2013 paid in January 2014, over half of residents property taxes went to the school system and only 20% went to the City.

 The amount of money going to the municipality of Maple Heights is composed of many different levies. This means that while the city gets 20% of your taxes, not all of that money goes towards the operating budget. Some of this money goes to specific funds and must be used to pay said expenses. 

Inside the Charter’s 10.5 mill tax rate limitation (non-voted)

Operating: 7.3 mills
Police and Fire Pension: .6  mills
Debt retirement (paying back money the city borrowed): 2.6 mills

Voted:

Street lighting: 1.0 mill
Police and Fire: 4.0 mills (set to expire in 2017/paid in 2018)

Collection Rate

Another factor to consider is the collection rate. Property taxes are collected by the county. In 2013 the collection rate was 83%. This not only effects our revenue, but also our budget for the following year.  Our revenue is estimated at the prior years collection rate.  Since our garbage is assessed on the tax bill, those who do pay are paying for residents/landlords who don’t pay their tax bill’s garbage to be picked up.

Comparing Tax and Collection Rates

E. Cleveland Brook Park Parma Hts S. Euclid Maple Hts Shaker Hts Garfeild Hts
Effective Property Tax Rate (mills): Business 110.44 80.69 89.59 102.23 100.12 150.86 117.01
Effective Property Tax Rate (mills): Residential 88.71 74.35 87.30 105.42 103.61 125.64 122.53
Collection Rate 65.9% 95.5% 96.9% 94.2% 82.8% 91.1% 83.5%
Income Tax Rate 2% 2%* 3%* 2% 2.50% 2.25% 2%

*collected by  City, not RITA

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