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County auditor’s office working for you

I would like to take this opportunity to give the residents of Lawrence County a review of the workings of the county auditor’s office for 2009.

I would like to start by saying that the Auditor’s Office is connected to the function of every county office, as well as all other local governments, in one way or the other.

The office is broken down into three main areas of responsibility:

1) Property Ownership and Valuation

2) Chief Fiscal/Payroll Officer of the County

3) Miscellaneous Duties

Under Property Ownership and Valuation, the county has approximately 55,200 parcels of real property and 5,500 manufactured homes for which the Auditor is responsible for tracking and setting values and tax rates.

Of these the office handled 3,575 ownership transfers of real estate and 263 manufactured homes in 2009.

We added 219 new homestead exemptions (for those at least 65 years of age, or disabled) to the real estate records for a total of 6,209 people on the program, and added 10 more to the manufactured homes, for a total of 577.

We also processed over 5,000 renewals for those agricultural property owners on the CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Valuation) program, and we are continuing the tax year 2010 (payable in 2011) appraisal program for all real estate parcels.

The office also handled 351 Board of Revision (the board to which property owners can dispute their property’s valuation)complaints.

In conjunction my office distributed to all local entities the following amounts: $28,199,000 in real estate taxes, $539,300 in manufactured home taxes, $78,000 in personal property taxes, $417,000 in personal property reimbursement payments from the State of Ohio, $119,479 in Public Utility Deregulation payments from the State of Ohio, and $941,150 in abatement side agreement payments.

In order to be as public-friendly as possible, my office also has a Web site found at www.lawrencecountyauditor.org where property ownership, valuation, and tax information can be found 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Property information is indexed by owner name, property address, and parcel number.

The Web site is updated nightly with that day’s changes, transfers, tax payments, etc. so the public can have the most current information possible at their fingertips.

As chief fiscal/payroll officer of the county, the bills for all county offices are processed by the Auditor’s office.

My office issued over 14,000 general warrants (along with any applicable 1099’s) during 2009.

Along with this, all budgets and budget changes as enacted by the county are tracked and reported by the Auditor.

My office is also responsible for processing the payroll of each county employee. The office issued approximately 11,500 payroll checks and/or direct deposit entries in 2009.

All related payroll processing functions, such as W2s, Federal, State and local withholdings, insurance, unemployment, worker compensation, etc. billings are also handled by the payroll department.

The office also handles all yearly budget filings for all 14 townships, eight local school districts, two vocational school districts, seven municipalities, the board of health and the county itself.

In addition to all of the above activities, my office worked diligently with the commissioners and other officeholders in providing constant reporting of where the county stood financially at any given time.

We also work closely with the Auditor of State’s contracted accounting firm that does the County’s annual financial audit, providing them with all necessary information they require.

And finally, in the miscellaneous area, we handled the sale of 6,239 dog tags, as well as the filing of the ownership information of each of the dogs. We processed 104 new vendor’s licenses, 66 cigarette licenses, and 82 estate tax filings.

If you have any questions about the workings of the county auditor’s office, please feel free to stop by, call (740-533-4310) or send an email to the email address listed on our Web site, which again is www.lawrencecountyauditor.org.

Ray T. Dutey is the Lawrence County Auditor.