130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 225  As Introduced
As Introduced

129th General Assembly
Regular Session
2011-2012
H. B. No. 225


Representatives Peterson, Landis 

Cosponsors: Representatives Pillich, Grossman, Sears, Boose, Derickson, Carey, Thompson, Adams, J., Hayes, Stinziano, Ruhl, McClain, Balderson, Maag 



A BILL
To amend sections 9.37, 5705.13, 5713.07, 5713.08, 5713.081, 5713.082, 5715.27, and 5717.02 of the Revised Code to vest in county auditors responsibility for reviewing and approving property tax exemption applications for some publicly owned property, to authorize county auditors and boards of township trustees to adopt a direct deposit payroll policy, and to authorize counties to increase the amount credited to "rainy day" reserve balance accounts to one-sixth of the expenditures made in the preceding fiscal year from the fund in which the reserve balance account is established.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 9.37, 5705.13, 5713.07, 5713.08, 5713.081, 5713.082, 5715.27, and 5717.02 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 9.37.  (A) As used in this section, "public official" means any elected or appointed officer, employee, or agent of the state, any state institution of higher education, any political subdivision, board, commission, bureau, or other public body established by law. "State institution of higher education" means any state university or college as defined in division (A)(1) of section 3345.12 of the Revised Code, community college, state community college, university branch, or technical college.
(B) Except as provided in division divisions (F) and (G) of this section, any public official may make by direct deposit of funds by electronic transfer, if the payee provides a written authorization designating a financial institution and an account number to which the payment is to be credited, any payment such public official is permitted or required by law in the performance of official duties to make by issuing a check or warrant.
(C) Such public official may contract with a financial institution for the services necessary to make direct deposits and draw lump-sum checks or warrants payable to that institution in the amount of the payments to be transferred.
(D) Before making any direct deposit as authorized under this section, the public official shall ascertain that the account from which the payment is to be made contains sufficient funds to cover the amount of the payment.
(E) If the issuance of checks and warrants by a public official requires authorization by a governing board, commission, bureau, or other public body having jurisdiction over the public official, the public official may only make direct deposits and contracts under this section pursuant to a resolution of authorization duly adopted by such governing board, commission, bureau, or other public body.
(F) Pursuant to sections 307.55, 319.16, and 321.15 of the Revised Code, a county auditor may issue, and a county treasurer may redeem, electronic warrants authorizing direct deposit for payment of county obligations in accordance with rules adopted by the director of budget and management pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
(G) A county auditor, for county employees, or a board of township trustees, for township employees, may adopt a direct deposit payroll policy under which all county employees or all township employees, as the case may be, provide a written authorization designating a financial institution and an account number to which payment of the employee's compensation shall be credited under the county's or township's direct deposit payroll policy. The direct deposit payroll policy adopted by a county auditor or a board of township trustees may exempt from the direct deposit requirement those county or township employees who cannot provide an account number, or for other reasons specified in the policy. The written authorization is not a public record under section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 5705.13.  (A) A taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may establish reserve balance accounts to accumulate currently available resources for the following purposes:
(1) To stabilize subdivision budgets against cyclical changes in revenues and expenditures;
(2) Except as otherwise provided by this section, to provide for the payment of claims and deductibles under a an individual or joint self-insurance program for the subdivision, if the subdivision is permitted by law to establish such a program;
(3) To provide for the payment of claims, assessments, and deductibles under a self-insurance program, individual retrospective ratings plan, group rating plan, group retrospective rating plan, medical only program, deductible plan, or large deductible plan for workers' compensation.
The ordinance or resolution establishing a reserve balance account shall state the purpose for which the account is established, the fund in which the account is to be established, and the total amount of money to be reserved in the account.
A subdivision that participates in a risk-sharing pool, by which governments pool risks and funds and share in the costs of losses, shall not establish a reserve balance account to provide self-insurance for the subdivision.
Not more than one reserve balance account may be established for each of the purposes permitted under divisions (A)(2) and (3) of this section. Money to the credit of a reserve balance account may be expended only for the purpose for which the account was established.
A reserve balance account established for the purpose described in division (A)(1) of this section may be established in the general fund or in one or more special funds for operating purposes of the subdivision. The amount of money to be reserved in such an account in any fiscal year shall not exceed five per cent of the revenue credited in the preceding fiscal year to the fund in which the account is established, or, in the case of a reserve balance account of a county, the greater of that amount or one-sixth of the expenditures during the preceding fiscal year from the fund in which the account is established. Subject to division (G) of section 5705.29 of the Revised Code, any reserve balance in an account established under division (A)(1) of this section shall not be considered part of the unencumbered balance or revenue of the subdivision under division (A) of section 5705.35 or division (A)(1) of section 5705.36 of the Revised Code.
At any time, a taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may reduce or eliminate the reserve balance in a reserve balance account established for the purpose described in division (A)(1) of this section.
A reserve balance account established for the purpose described in division (A)(2) or (3) of this section shall be established in the general fund of the subdivision or by the establishment of a separate internal service fund established to account for the operation of the an individual or joint self-insurance or retrospective ratings plan program described in division (A)(2) of this section or a workers' compensation program or plan described in division (A)(3) of this section, and shall be based on sound actuarial principles. The total amount of money in a reserve balance account for self-insurance may be expressed in dollars or as the amount determined to represent an adequate reserve according to sound actuarial principles.
A taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may rescind a reserve balance account established under this division. If a reserve balance account is rescinded, money that has accumulated in the account shall be transferred to the fund or funds from which the money originally was transferred.
(B) A taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may establish a special revenue fund for the purpose of accumulating resources for the payment of accumulated sick leave and vacation leave, and for payments in lieu of taking compensatory time off, upon the termination of employment or the retirement of officers and employees of the subdivision. The special revenue fund may also accumulate resources for payment of salaries during any fiscal year when the number of pay periods exceeds the usual and customary number of pay periods. Notwithstanding sections 5705.14, 5705.15, and 5705.16 of the Revised Code, the taxing authority, by resolution or ordinance, may transfer money to the special revenue fund from any other fund of the subdivision from which such payments may lawfully be made. The taxing authority, by resolution or ordinance, may rescind a special revenue fund established under this division. If a special revenue fund is rescinded, money that has accumulated in the fund shall be transferred to the fund or funds from which the money originally was transferred.
(C) A taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may establish a capital projects fund for the purpose of accumulating resources for the acquisition, construction, or improvement of fixed assets of the subdivision. For the purposes of this section, "fixed assets" includes motor vehicles. More than one capital projects fund may be established and may exist at any time. The ordinance or resolution shall identify the source of the money to be used to acquire, construct, or improve the fixed assets identified in the resolution or ordinance, the amount of money to be accumulated for that purpose, the period of time over which that amount is to be accumulated, and the fixed assets that the taxing authority intends to acquire, construct, or improve with the money to be accumulated in the fund.
A taxing authority of a subdivision shall not accumulate money in a capital projects fund for more than ten years after the resolution or ordinance establishing the fund is adopted. If the subdivision has not entered into a contract for the acquisition, construction, or improvement of fixed assets for which money was accumulated in such a fund before the end of that ten-year period, the fiscal officer of the subdivision shall transfer all money in the fund to the fund or funds from which that money originally was transferred or the fund that originally was intended to receive the money.
A taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may rescind a capital projects fund. If a capital projects fund is rescinded, money that has accumulated in the fund shall be transferred to the fund or funds from which the money originally was transferred.
Notwithstanding sections 5705.14, 5705.15, and 5705.16 of the Revised Code, the taxing authority of a subdivision, by resolution or ordinance, may transfer money to the capital projects fund from any other fund of the subdivision that may lawfully be used for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, or improving the fixed assets identified in the resolution or ordinance.
Sec. 5713.07.  The county auditor, at the time of making the assessment of real property subject to taxation, shall enter in a separate list pertinent descriptions of all burying grounds, public schoolhouses, houses used exclusively for public worship, institutions of purely public charity, real property used exclusively for a home for the aged, as defined in section 5701.13 of the Revised Code, public buildings and property used exclusively for any public purpose, and any other property, with the lot or tract of land on which such house, institution, public building, or other property is situated, and which have been exempted from taxation by either the tax commissioner or auditor under section 5715.27 of the Revised Code or by the housing officer under section 3735.67 of the Revised Code. The auditor shall value such houses, buildings, property, and lots and tracts of land at their taxable value in the same manner as the auditor is required to value other real property, designating in each case the township, municipal corporation, and number of the school district, or the name or designation of the school, religious society, or institution to which each house, lot, or tract belongs. If such property is held and used for other public purposes, the auditor shall state by whom or how it is held.
Sec. 5713.08.  (A) The county auditor shall make a list of all real and personal property in the auditor's county that is exempted from taxation. Such list shall show the name of the owner, the value of the property exempted, and a statement in brief form of the ground on which such exemption has been granted. It shall be corrected annually by adding thereto the items of property which have been exempted during the year, and by striking therefrom the items which in the opinion of the auditor have lost their right of exemption and which have been reentered on the taxable list, but no property shall be struck from the exempt property list solely because the property has been conveyed to a single member limited liability company with a nonprofit purpose from its nonprofit member or because the property has been conveyed by a single member limited liability company with a nonprofit purpose to its nonprofit member. No additions shall be made to such exempt lists and no additional items of property shall be exempted from taxation without the consent of the tax commissioner as is provided for in section 5715.27 of the Revised Code or without the consent of the housing officer under section 3735.67 of the Revised Code, except for property exempted by the auditor under that section or qualifying agricultural real property, as defined in section 5709.28 of the Revised Code, that is enrolled in an agriculture security area that is exempt under that section. The commissioner may revise at any time the list in every county so that no property is improperly or illegally exempted from taxation. The auditor shall follow the orders of the commissioner given under this section. An abstract of such list shall be filed annually with the commissioner, on a form approved by the commissioner, and a copy thereof shall be kept on file in the office of each auditor for public inspection.
An application for exemption of property shall include a certificate executed by the county treasurer certifying one of the following:
(1) That all taxes, interest, and penalties levied and assessed against the property sought to be exempted have been paid in full for all of the tax years preceding the tax year for which the application for exemption is filed, except for such taxes, interest, and penalties that may be remitted under division (C) of this section;
(2) That the applicant has entered into a valid delinquent tax contract with the county treasurer pursuant to division (A) of section 323.31 of the Revised Code to pay all of the delinquent taxes, interest, and penalties charged against the property, except for such taxes, interest, and penalties that may be remitted under division (C) of this section. If the auditor receives notice under section 323.31 of the Revised Code that such a written delinquent tax contract has become void, the auditor shall strike such property from the list of exempted property and reenter such property on the taxable list. If property is removed from the exempt list because a written delinquent tax contract has become void, current taxes shall first be extended against that property on the general tax list and duplicate of real and public utility property for the tax year in which the auditor receives the notice required by division (A) of section 323.31 of the Revised Code that the delinquent tax contract has become void or, if that notice is not timely made, for the tax year in which falls the latest date by which the treasurer is required by such section to give such notice. A county auditor shall not remove from any tax list and duplicate the amount of any unpaid delinquent taxes, assessments, interest, or penalties owed on property that is placed on the exempt list pursuant to this division.
(3) That a tax certificate has been issued under section 5721.32 or 5721.33 of the Revised Code with respect to the property that is the subject of the application, and the tax certificate is outstanding.
(B) If the treasurer's certificate is not included with the application or the certificate reflects unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest that may not be remitted, the tax commissioner or county auditor with whom the application was filed shall notify the property owner of that fact, and the applicant shall be given sixty days from the date that notification was mailed in which to provide the tax commissioner or county auditor with a corrected treasurer's certificate. If a corrected treasurer's certificate is not received within the time permitted, the tax commissioner or county auditor does not have authority to consider the tax exemption application.
(C) Any taxes, interest, and penalties which have become a lien after the property was first used for the exempt purpose, but in no case prior to the date of acquisition of the title to the property by the applicant, may be remitted by the commissioner or county auditor, except as is provided in division (A) of section 5713.081 of the Revised Code.
(D) Real property acquired by the state in fee simple is exempt from taxation from the date of acquisition of title or date of possession, whichever is the earlier date, provided that all taxes, interest, and penalties as provided in the apportionment provisions of section 319.20 of the Revised Code have been paid to the date of acquisition of title or date of possession by the state, whichever is earlier. The proportionate amount of taxes that are a lien but not yet determined, assessed, and levied for the year in which the property is acquired, shall be remitted by the county auditor for the balance of the year from date of acquisition of title or date of possession, whichever is earlier. This section shall not be construed to authorize the exemption of such property from taxation or the remission of taxes, interest, and penalties thereon until all private use has terminated.
Sec. 5713.081. (A) No application for real property tax exemption and tax remission shall be filed with, or considered by, the tax commissioner or county auditor in which tax remission is requested for more than three tax years, and the commissioner or auditor shall not remit more than three years' taxes, penalties, and interest.
(B) All taxes, penalties, and interest, that have been delinquent for more than three years, appearing on the general tax list and duplicate of real property which have been levied and assessed against parcels of real property owned by the state, any political subdivision, or any other entity whose ownership of real property would constitute public ownership, shall be collected by the county auditor of the county where the real property is located. Such The auditor shall deduct from each distribution made by the auditor, the amount necessary to pay the tax delinquency from any revenues or funds to the credit of the state, any political subdivision, or any other entity whose ownership of real property would constitute public ownership thereof, passing under the auditor's control, or which come into the auditor's possession, and such deductions shall be made on a continuing basis until all delinquent taxes, penalties, and interest noted in this section have been paid.
(C) As used in division (B) of this section, "political subdivision" includes townships, municipalities, counties, school districts, boards of education, all state and municipal universities, park boards, and any other entity whose ownership of real property would constitute public ownership.
Sec. 5713.082.  (A) Whenever the county auditor reenters an item of property to the tax list as provided in section 5713.08 of the Revised Code and there has been no conveyance of the property between separate entities, the auditor shall send notice by certified mail to the owner of the property that it is now subject to property taxation as a result of such action. The auditor shall send the notice at the same time the auditor certifies the real property tax duplicate to the county treasurer. The notice shall describe the property and indicate that the owner may reapply for tax exemption by filing an application for exemption as provided in section 5715.27 of the Revised Code, and that failure to file such an application within the proper time period will result in the owner having to pay the taxes even if the property continued to be used for an exempt purpose.
(B) If the auditor failed to send the notice required by this section, and if the owner of the property subsequently files an application for tax exemption for the property for the current tax year, the tax commissioner or county auditor may grant exemption to the property, and the commissioner or auditor shall remit all taxes and penalties for each prior year since the property was reentered on the tax list, notwithstanding the provisions of division (A) of section 5713.081 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 5715.27.  (A)(1) Except as provided in division (A)(2) of this section and in section 3735.67 of the Revised Code, the owner, a vendee in possession under a purchase agreement or a land contract, the beneficiary of a trust, or a lessee for an initial term of not less than thirty years of any property may file an application with the tax commissioner, on forms prescribed by the commissioner, requesting that such property be exempted from taxation and that taxes, interest, and penalties be remitted as provided in division (C) of section 5713.08 of the Revised Code.
(2) If the property that is the subject of the application for exemption is any of the following, the application shall be filed with the county auditor of the county in which the property is listed for taxation:
(a) A public road or highway;
(b) Property belonging to the federal government of the United States;
(c) Additions or other improvements to an existing building or structure that belongs to the state or a political subdivision, as defined in section 5713.081 of the Revised Code, and that is exempted from taxation as property used exclusively for a public purpose;
(d) Property of the boards of trustees and of the housing commissions of the state universities, the northeastern Ohio universities college of medicine, and of the state to be exempted under section 3345.17 of the Revised Code.
(B) The board of education of any school district may request the tax commissioner or county auditor to provide it with notification of applications for exemption from taxation for property located within that district. If so requested, the commissioner or auditor shall send to the board on a monthly basis reports that contain sufficient information to enable the board to identify each property that is the subject of an exemption application, including, but not limited to, the name of the property owner or applicant, the address of the property, and the auditor's parcel number. The commissioner or auditor shall mail the reports by the fifteenth day of the month following the end of the month in which the commissioner or auditor receives the applications for exemption.
(C) A board of education that has requested notification under division (B) of this section may, with respect to any application for exemption of property located in the district and included in the commissioner's or auditor's most recent report provided under that division, file a statement with the commissioner or auditor and with the applicant indicating its intent to submit evidence and participate in any hearing on the application. The statements shall be filed prior to the first day of the third month following the end of the month in which that application was docketed by the commissioner or auditor. A statement filed in compliance with this division entitles the district to submit evidence and to participate in any hearing on the property and makes the district a party for purposes of sections 5717.02 to 5717.04 of the Revised Code in any appeal of the commissioner's or auditor's decision to the board of tax appeals.
(D) The commissioner or auditor shall not hold a hearing on or grant or deny an application for exemption of property in a school district whose board of education has requested notification under division (B) of this section until the end of the period within which the board may submit a statement with respect to that application under division (C) of this section. The commissioner or auditor may act upon an application at any time prior to that date upon receipt of a written waiver from each such board of education, or, in the case of exemptions authorized by section 725.02, 1728.10, 5709.40, 5709.41, 5709.411, 5709.62, 5709.63, 5709.632, 5709.73, 5709.78, 5709.84, or 5709.88 of the Revised Code, upon the request of the property owner. Failure of a board of education to receive the report required in division (B) of this section shall not void an action of the commissioner or auditor with respect to any application. The commissioner or auditor may extend the time for filing a statement under division (C) of this section.
(E) A complaint may also be filed with the commissioner or auditor by any person, board, or officer authorized by section 5715.19 of the Revised Code to file complaints with the county board of revision against the continued exemption of any property granted exemption by the commissioner or auditor under this section.
(F) An application for exemption and a complaint against exemption shall be filed prior to the thirty-first day of December of the tax year for which exemption is requested or for which the liability of the property to taxation in that year is requested. The commissioner or auditor shall consider such application or complaint in accordance with procedures established by the commissioner, determine whether the property is subject to taxation or exempt therefrom, and, if the commissioner makes the determination, certify the commissioner's findings determination to the auditor, who. Upon making the determination or receiving the commissioner's determination, the auditor shall correct the tax list and duplicate accordingly. If a tax certificate has been sold under section 5721.32 or 5721.33 of the Revised Code with respect to property for which an exemption has been requested, the tax commissioner or auditor shall also certify the findings to the county treasurer of the county in which the property is located.
(G) Applications and complaints, and documents of any kind related to applications and complaints, filed with the tax commissioner or county auditor under this section, are public records within the meaning of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
(H) If the commissioner or auditor determines that the use of property or other facts relevant to the taxability of property that is the subject of an application for exemption or a complaint under this section has changed while the application or complaint was pending, the commissioner or auditor may make the determination under division (F) of this section separately for each tax year beginning with the year in which the application or complaint was filed or the year for which remission of taxes under division (C) of section 5713.08 of the Revised Code was requested, and including each subsequent tax year during which the application or complaint is pending before the commissioner or auditor.
Sec. 5717.02.  (A) Except as otherwise provided by law, appeals from final determinations by the tax commissioner of any preliminary, amended, or final tax assessments, reassessments, valuations, determinations, findings, computations, or orders made by the commissioner may be taken to the board of tax appeals by the taxpayer, by the person to whom notice of the tax assessment, reassessment, valuation, determination, finding, computation, or order by the commissioner is required by law to be given, by the director of budget and management if the revenues affected by such that decision would accrue primarily to the state treasury, or by the county auditors of the counties to the undivided general tax funds of which the revenues affected by such that decision would primarily accrue. Appeals from the redetermination by the director of development under division (B) of section 5709.64 or division (A) of section 5709.66 of the Revised Code may be taken to the board of tax appeals by the enterprise to which notice of the redetermination is required by law to be given. Appeals from a decision of the tax commissioner or county auditor concerning an application for a property tax exemption may be taken to the board of tax appeals by the applicant or by a school district that filed a statement concerning such that application under division (C) of section 5715.27 of the Revised Code. Appeals from a redetermination by the director of job and family services under section 5733.42 of the Revised Code may be taken by the person to which the notice of the redetermination is required by law to be given under that section.
Such (B) The appeals shall be taken by the filing of a notice of appeal with the board, and with the tax commissioner if the tax commissioner's action is the subject of the appeal, with the county auditor if the county auditor's action is the subject of the appeal, with the director of development if that director's action is the subject of the appeal, or with the director of job and family services if that director's action is the subject of the appeal. The notice of appeal shall be filed within sixty days after service of the notice of the tax assessment, reassessment, valuation, determination, finding, computation, or order by the commissioner, property tax exemption determination by the commissioner or the county auditor, or redetermination by the director has been given as provided in section 5703.37, 5709.64, 5709.66, or 5733.42 of the Revised Code. The notice of such appeal may be filed in person or by certified mail, express mail, or authorized delivery service. If the notice of such appeal is filed by certified mail, express mail, or authorized delivery service as provided in section 5703.056 of the Revised Code, the date of the United States postmark placed on the sender's receipt by the postal service or the date of receipt recorded by the authorized delivery service shall be treated as the date of filing. The notice of appeal shall have attached thereto to it and incorporated therein in it by reference a true copy of the notice sent by the commissioner, county auditor, or director to the taxpayer, enterprise, or other person of the final determination or redetermination complained of, and shall also specify the errors therein complained of, but failure to attach a copy of such that notice and to incorporate it by reference in the notice of appeal does not invalidate the appeal.
(C) Upon the filing of a notice of appeal, the tax commissioner, county auditor, or the director, as appropriate, shall certify to the board a transcript of the record of the proceedings before the commissioner, auditor, or director, together with all evidence considered by the commissioner, auditor, or director in connection therewith with the proceedings. Such Those appeals or applications may be heard by the board at its office in Columbus or in the county where the appellant resides, or it may cause its examiners to conduct such the hearings and to report to it their findings for affirmation or rejection. The board shall institute procedures, including the conduct of discovery, to control and manage appeals governed by this section. Those procedures shall include a requirement that upon the filing of the transcript of the record in an appeal, the board through its attorney examiners shall establish a case management schedule in consultation with the parties or their counsel.
(D) The board may order the appeal to be heard upon the record and the evidence certified to it by the commissioner, county auditor, or director, but upon the application of any interested party the board shall order the hearing of additional evidence, and it may make such an investigation concerning the appeal as that it considers proper.
Section 2. That existing sections 9.37, 5705.13, 5713.07, 5713.08, 5713.081, 5713.082, 5715.27, and 5717.02 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
Section 3. The amendments by this act to sections 5713.07, 5713.08, 5713.081, 5713.082, 5715.27, and 5717.02 of the Revised Code apply to applications for exemptions filed for tax year 2011 or thereafter.
Section 4.  Section 5713.08 of the Revised Code is presented in this act as a composite of the section as amended by both Sub. H.B. 160 and Sub. H.B. 289 of the 127th General Assembly. The General Assembly, applying the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that amendments are to be harmonized if reasonably capable of simultaneous operation, finds that the composite is the resulting version of the section in effect prior to the effective date of the section as presented in this act.
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