After closing the second of two different public hearings Monday, the Delaware County Board of Commissioners approved the 10-year renewal of a real property transfer tax pursuant to section 322.02 of the Ohio Revised Code.
“These are fees that have been in place since 1968,” Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa told the board. “They started out at $1 per $1,000 of the sale price on real property transfers. It was a mandatory fee. In 1989, it was increased to $2 and then in 1995, it was increased to $3. It has been at $3 ever since.”
The board held the first public hearing Monday, Nov. 18, with no action taken at that time due to the need for the second hearing.
Kaitsa said the statute allows up to $4 per $1,000, but he did not make a recommendation for increasing the fee to the full amount allowed by the statute. He went on to give a brief history of the fee.
“In 1995, the commissioners raised it to $3 per $1,000 with $1 of permissive fees being dedicated for sheriff’s deputies,” he said. “That fee was continued in 1999, which was a 10-year renewal.”
Kaitsa said in 2019, his office has collected $5.1 million in real property transfer fees.
“We’re really almost back to our 2005 level in terms of our real estate activity and transfers within Delaware County,” he said.
Kaitsa said in approving the renewal, commissioners could do one of two things. He said they could approve a resolution to renew the fee every 10 years, or he recommended they approve a resolution to make it a continuous fee.
“Candidly, my recommendation would be that we amend the resolution and make it a continuing fee so that it does not need to come before you every 10 years,” he said.
Director of Business Operations and Financial Management Brad Lutz said he had been through the process previously in his last position.
“You’re free to administer this fee whatever way you see is the best fitting,” he said. “I can tell you with fairly great authority, based on the research that we did there, this is a fee that could be raised or lowered at any time.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell said he’s pleased the fee isn’t being raised to the $4 limit, and he favored leaving the fee to be renewed every decade.
“There is something to be said about giving the people the opportunity to come to hear it every 10 years,” he said. “I don’t have a strong opinion about it one way or the other, but it does mean the public has an opportunity to revisit it at least every 10 years.”
No one opposed to the renewal of the real property transfer fee.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.