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Supreme Court: Homeowners take advantage of mediation program

HouseFranklin County homeowners unhappy with their property tax valuation are turning to a new mediation program to resolve their dispute. More than 800 cases have been settled in the first three months of the program.

“We’ve heard nothing but positive comments from property owners who’ve elected to go through mediation,” Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo said. “This new model represents a swifter, more convenient way for taxpayers to find property tax resolution. They have a voice in the process and are able to bypass the long waits associated with Board of Revision hearings to get a decision in weeks, not months.”

The Board of Revision mediation program is designed using a format similar to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Foreclosure Mediation Program Model that has received national recognition. The court worked with county representatives, including Treasurer Edward Leonard, County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, and Auditor Mingo, to design the program.

“Our goal is to make this a model program,” Ohio State Bar Association member and Supreme Court of Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Programs Manager Jacqueline Hagerott said. “We will continue to assess how the program design is working, make any necessary modifications, and then share it with other counties and states interested in providing mediation as an option for property owners.”

Hagerott added that the model will be published and available for statewide implementation as early as January 2014.

The Franklin County mediations are conducted by phone with the property owner, a representative from the Franklin County Auditor's Office, and an outside mediator. If all sides agree to the resolution made during the mediation, the agreement is sent to the Board of Revision for approval.

Franklin County property owners who would like more information about the mediation program should call (614) 525-HOME (4663).

Content courtesy of Court News Ohio.

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