Auditor Stephens Improves Efficiency for Fair and Honest Commerce
Most people know that a County Auditor in Ohio is responsible for many duties of local
government such as Property Assessor and Chief Financial Officer, but one role many people
may not realize is how much the Auditor’s Office is involved with safeguarding fair and honest
commerce throughout the county.
With the goals of making it easier to do business and making sure local consumers are
protected in Lawrence County, I have recently added some new features to my website,
These additions are focused on improving commerce in Lawrence County as well as help
consumers easily report potential discrepancies in the marketplace.
One of the most interesting parts of the job of County Auditor is ensuring that weights and
measuring devices used at the point of sale are accurate throughout the county. This is why you
see that bright colored sticker with my name on it on all of the gas pumps and deli scales in
That sticker with my name on it is actually a seal. The Auditor’s Seal lets you know that the
device has been tested and sealed annually by our certified inspector to deliver the product in
the amount the device states.
The Auditor’s Seal ensures fairness and honesty for both consumers and businesses. This duty
to ensure fairness and honesty reminds me of Proverbs 16:11 “Honest scales and balances are
from the Lord…”
“Honest scales” is something I take very seriously as your County Auditor. In order to help
ensure accurate measurements in the marketplace, we have added a new function to the
website that enables consumers to report any problems or questions with a commercial
measurement device directly to the Auditor’s Office online.
This new function will help us better track complaints, and make sure the weights and measures
process in Lawrence County is more efficient and transparent, ensuring consumers and
businesses are both receiving a fair deal.
In addition, when a new business starts up or an existing business expands, various permits
and licenses are always needed. Sometimes obtaining the proper permits or licenses can be a
difficult task for a business owner to simply find out what form to use or where to go to get
There is now a link on our website for businesses to be able to inquire about Vendor’s Licenses
and what is needed in order to go into business. There is also a link to the Soil and Water
District, which administers commercial building permits and floodplain permits in Lawrence
County, to help businesses know where to go to get the permits they need to comply with
construction and expansion requirements.
Hopefully, these additional enhancements will make it easier for businesses to obtain permitting
information more efficiently and will also make sure local consumers are treated fairly in
If you have any questions about these new web features, please feel free to contact my office at
Jason C. Stephens
Lawrence County Auditor
May 23, 2013
Auditor Administers Property Tax Breaks
As you can imagine, I get more and more questions from folks about their property taxes as the March 8 due date for the first half tax bills fast approaches. Most often people want to know what can be done to help ease their tax burden.
Actually, there are several options available for you that enable you to save money. I want to make you aware of these programs designed to reduce your annual property tax bill.
First, if you own a home as your principal place of residence, you are entitled to a 2 1/2% tax rollback regardless of your age.
Second, the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program helps to reduce the tax burden for owners of real estate who are engaged in commercial farming.
Also, if your property has been damaged by fire, flooding, or other means, you may be eligible for a temporary reduction in your taxes as well.
Finally, some homeowners may qualify for the Homestead Exemption, which is an additional program that can result in significant tax savings. To be eligible for the Homestead Exemption you must currently live in your home as your principal residence, and be at least 65 years of age, or certified as permanently disabled, regardless of age. You are also eligible if you are at least 59 years of age and the surviving spouse of a qualified homeowner.
In fact, with the Homestead Exemption, homeowners are able to shield $25,000 worth of market value of their home from property taxes. Currently in Lawrence County there are 6,454 active Homestead Exemptions, saving those taxpayers over $1.6 million in annual property taxes.
As your County Auditor, I am committed to helping you receive fair and equal treatment as a Lawrence County taxpayer, as well as helping you take advantage of every tax saving opportunity provided you by Ohio law.
Please take advantage of these programs to ease your tax burden. To find applications and additional information on the rollback and reduction programs, please click here, call 740-533-4310, or visit my office on the second floor of the courthouse. We will be happy to help you.
Jason C. Stephens
Lawrence County Auditor