Rick Jeffrey, Republican challenger for county auditor, says incumbent auditor Tom Paul blew it and property owners are paying the price.
"There was an opportunity missed," Jeffrey said. "If (a re-adjustment) happened, the annual tax bills for many of Erie County's residents might have decreased."
Every sixth year the county auditor is required to visit all properties in the county and assess the value.
Every three years the auditor does another update -- a "paper" review of the valid sales in the county, Paul said.
The county hires an appraisal company to survey properties every three years. The last survey in 2009 showed sale prices were stagnant, but there were no changes in residential values, Paul said.
Jeffrey's accusations don't add up, Paul said.
"His (words) reflect his lack of knowledge of the job of Erie County auditor," Paul said. "His inaccuracy in the portrayal of the appraisal process that is in place in every county in Ohio does not reflect what is required by law."
The 2012 property assessment will be the next assessment for a total re-valuation in Erie County -- the first since 2006. The assessed values dictate the taxes property owners pay.
Jeffrey contends Paul didn't conduct a thorough review of local market values. If he had, Jeffrey said, tax bills could have been lowered to better reflect a downturn in the economy from 2007 to 2009.
But Paul says Jeffrey is wrong.
And Paul said he stands by the appraisal process.
The appraisal company's employees place property values on a home by analyzing the cluster of home sales in a neighborhood, Paul said.
"They have knowledge of Erie County and what the market value of parcels should be in Erie County," Paul said. "There is nothing to 'make right,' as my opponent claims."
Jeffrey said 83 of Ohio's 88 counties chose to re-appraise residential properties this year.
But Paul said a rotating schedule with each county exists, according to a layout designed by the Ohio Department of Taxation.
"It's not like we are picking dates out of the air," Paul said. "Other counties might be doing their Triennials in other years."
But Jeffrey believes Paul should have done something to determine a new fair-market value for Erie County residents in this troubled economy.
"The auditor should be making sure that every time he looks at property values, he is considering everything," Jeffrey said. "And those values (should be) the absolute best they can come up with."