Frequently Asked Questions

Website FAQs
How do I search for my parcel(s)?
Begin by clicking the "Search" tab at the top of this page. The Property Search page will allow you to search for properties based on a variety of criteria and view pertinent real estate data on a specific Subject Parcel. Search criteria include Owner Name, Address and Parcel ID.
Where did MWCD obtain the parcel data information?
Some parcel data was provided by county auditor's offices. Parcel data that did not exist prior to the assessment was created using scanned paper tax maps from auditor's offices. Attribute information for the parcels was obtained from each county's auditor's office as well.
Assessment FAQs
Why is the Conservancy assessing us?
The dams and reservoirs of the District are over 70 years old and in need of major upgrades and deferred maintenance. Over the years the District has attempted to provide this maintenance with its limited funds from recreation and lease payments. However, these funds are no longer sufficient to meet the needs which the District estimates will total $270 million over the next 20-years.
Who is being assessed?
Everyone who owns property within the legal boundary of the MWCD, more than 522,000 parcels.
Why are tax exempt properties being taxed?
First, this is an assessment not a tax. Properties owned by state and local governments, schools or churches which are normally exempt from taxes are not exempt from assessments. For example, they are required to pay assessments for the installation of water or sewer, and state law also provides for these properties to pay an assessment levied by a Conservancy District.
What is an ERU?
An ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit) is a convenient way of comparing the runoff from different land use classifications. A statistical sample of 600 residential properties in the watershed were randomly selected and the impervious area measured on each one. The average impervious area for these 600 parcels was 3,300 square feet. Impervious area is the amount of hard surface on a parcel such as the roof, driveway, sidewalk or outbuildings. These hard surfaces produce much of the runoff which enters area rivers and streams. The 3,300 square feet of impervious area is considered one ERU for all residential properties within the District. This value is then divided into the impervious area for other land use classifications such as commercial or Industrial to determine their respective ERU's.
How is my property being assessed?
All property in the District is being assessed based on the estimated contribution of runoff to the watershed. Runoff is that portion of rainfall that runs off into storm drains, ditches or streams and ultimately into the rivers and the reservoirs. This runoff produces flooding and contributes to sedimentation and water pollution in the areas rivers and streams.
How is my assessment determined?
The assessment is based on the area of the parcel, the land-use classification (commercial, industrial, residential) and the estimated percent impervious area for that land use. The percent impervious area has been defined from several sources, including:
  1. TR-55, a Technical Report prepared by the Soil Conservation Service that provides estimates of impervious area for various land use classifications, or,

  2. based upon a random sample of similar land use such as 5% impervious for mines and quarries, 1% for parks, open space, or golf course,

  3. actual measurement of impervious area from available aerial photography. This method was utilized for larger parcels, and

  4. factors developed for larger parcels in c) above and applied to similar parcels with the same land use classification and similar in size.
Why are farms assessed the same as a residential parcel?
Most farms have substantially more acreage than a residential parcel. However, a sample of impervious areas on farm properties did not indicate significantly more impervious area on farm property than on residential. In addition, the large non-impervious areas of a farm tend to hold back runoff until saturated before release to ditches and streams. As a result, it was decided to assess farm parcels one ERU just like residential.
Why are undeveloped properties being assessed?
Similar to farm parcels, undeveloped or vacant parcels tend to hold runoff and not release it until the soil is saturated. Even though they are undeveloped, they ultimately contribute runoff to the stream system and as a result are being assessed the minimum of one ERU.
Will I receive an assessment in the Chippewa Subdistrict?
Properties in the Chippewa Subdistrict are already being assessed for the maintenance of the dams and reservoirs within the Chippewa Watershed. It was decided that property within the Chippewa Watershed also contribute runoff, sediment and pollution to the Muskingum Watershed and will be given a credit for 50% of their Muskingum Watershed assessment. The minimum combined assessment within the Chippewa Subdistrict will be one ERU.
How is my assessment determined?
For a 1-acre commercial property the estimated assessment is determined as follows:

1-acre = 43,560 sq. ft.

Average % Impervious = 85%

( 43,560 x 0.85 ) / 3,300 = 11 ERU ( rounded)

11 ERU x $12.00 per ERU = $132.00
How can MWCD tax me without a vote?
This is an assessment not a tax. Section 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code permits Conservancy District to levy an assessment. There is no provision in the statute for a vote on the assessment, just as there is no provision in state law for a vote on a sewer assessment.
How are most residential properties, undeveloped parcels and farms treated?
They will be charged one ERU, which is expected to result in an assessment of $12.00 per year.
What will be done with the money collected?
Revenues from the assessment are currently projected to be about $10.5 million per year. This money will be used as matching funds for repairs to the 14 dams, to improve local flood protection, clear log jams from area streams, dredge sediment from reservoirs, reduce sediment in streams through erosion control and best management practices, improve water quality by reducing acid mine drainage, reduce the build-up of hydrogen sulfide in the reservoirs and by reducing pollution load from septic systems and inadequate treatment plants. These funds cannot be used for recreation projects.
Why doesn't the Conservancy use its current revenue?
Over the years, MWCD has utilized a portion of the funds received from cottage, camping and lodge rentals and leases, boat launch fees, mineral leases and other sources to fund a limited maintenance program. This effort has not been sufficient to deal with major maintenance issues many of which have been deferred for lack of funding. In recent years, reduced revenue from these sources is barely able to keep up with the cost of operating the recreation facilities. A maintenance assessment therefore is necessary to deal with many of these long deferred maintenance issues.
Why doesn't the federal or state government deal with these problems?
The US Army Corps of Engineers has rated 4 of the District dams in the top 20 in the United States requiring major improvements. This work could cost more than $500 million. To do this work the federal government requires a local match which the District would pay through this assessment. The State of Ohio does not have funds available for the work covered under the District Addendum to the Official Plan, and in fact the state has been reducing programs and staff to stay within budget limits.
How do I go about changing my appraisal?
There are two ways to change the appraisal:
  1. First, if there is an obvious error in the land use classification, the area of the parcel or the computation of the assessment, contact the District toll-free at (866) 755-6923 and provide your comments. A MWCD staff member will review your parcel(s) and make adjustments as appropriate.

  2. If you believe that the factors applied to your property are not correct, (i.e. the impervious area appears to be too large), you may submit additional documentation to the District such as up-to-date aerial photography or a site plan showing all impervious surface certified by an engineer or surveyor, or
How are the benefits to my property determined?
Jack Faucett and Associates, a nationally recognized consultant in this field, was retained by the District to determine the benefits from this Plan. They estimated total future benefits at $2.5 million. This total benefit was divided by the total ERU's to determine the benefit per ERU.
The parcel area used in determining my appraisal does not match the Auditors area, why not?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) was developed to assist the District in establishing this maintenance assessment. A GIS is a "smart map" which was prepared from the parcel tax maps from each county and each parcel was then attributed with the Auditor's data. Originally it was intended that the Auditor's parcel area would be used to compute all assessments, however as the process evolved a number of significant differences between the official parcel area and the GIS map area were noted. To be fair, the Auditors parcel areas were compared to the GIS parcel area and if the difference was more than 20% the smaller area was utilized for establishing the assessment, which resulted in a lower assessment for the property.
What is the Large Parcel Rule?
At several meetings held on the appraisal process, it was suggested that very large residential, agricultural or undeveloped parcels should pay more than one ERU. The area of a parcel larger than one section (640 aces) would be divided by 640 and the number of ERU's determined by the rounded result.
Why is Open Space assessed at 1%?
The open space category includes several land uses including parks, cemeteries and golf courses. The impervious area data from TR-55 was plotted against the soil curve numbers and a regression equation applied. The results for the open space category produced a value of 1% for Open Space.
Who assigns the Parcel Use Code?
The County Auditor in each county is required to assign a parcel use code to each property in accordance with state law. A table of sample PUC follows:

PUCDescription
510Single Family Dwelling
424Full Line Department Stores
660Property Owned by Park Districts
Will the MWCD change my parcel lines?
No. The MWCD utilizes data provided by constituent counties in electronic and/or tax map format.
What is an Assessment Use Code (AUC)?
The AUC were determined by the Board of Appraisers. The PUC assigned by the Auditor determines the AUC. For example, a PUC of 510 yields an AUC of R or Residential. The complete list of AUC follows:

CodeDefinition
CCommercial
IIndustrial
OOther
PPark
MMine or Quarry
RResidential
AAgricultural
VVacant
DProperty rights recognized by auditor which does not include physical land; i.e. railroad property, not land
EEducational
TTrailer Park
FFederal



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Disclaimer: The portal version of the Conservancy Appraisal Record reflects any clerical and substantive corrections as identified and applied by MWCD. All data on this portal were created for the use of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) in the appraisal of real property, planning and other District activities. The suitability of this data for any other use is not guaranteed and the user assumes all risk for such uses. MWCD assumes no legal responsibility for this information. Users noting errors or omissions are encouraged to contact MWCD toll free at (866) 755-6923 or at (330) 364-8039.