DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In an attempt to relieve the financial burden facing tornado victims, Montgomery County is offering tax flexibility to property owners.

“I realize the timing of these tax bills couldn’t come at a worse time for some of our residents,” said Montgomery County Treasurer Russ Joseph.

Joseph said real estate tax bills will start arriving this week, ahead of a July 19th deadline to pay second-half 2018 property taxes.

Early estimates show the Memorial Day tornadoes damaged or destroyed as many as 5,000 properties across Montgomery County. Given the widespread devastation, the Treasurer and Auditor worked with County Prosecutor Matt Heck to offer relief.

To stay within the parameters of the Ohio Revised Code, they’re offering a one-year tax extension to a property owner whose home or business lost 25 percent of its value during the storms. If approved by the Board of Revisions, the extended deadline would be July of 2020.

“This extension will give people extra time to receive their insurance, make needed repairs to their homes and business — before needing to worry about paying the real estate taxes,” Joseph said.

Tuesday, County Auditor Karl Keith also reminded property owners to revalue their homes and businesses if they were damaged or destroyed by an August 2019 deadline. This will allow the auditor’s office to make adjustments for taxes payable in 2020 and ensure tornado victims aren’t paying a full tax bill for a damaged property.

Keith mentioned the tax relief for tornado victims with the caveat it could affect amenities funded by property taxes, such as schools, parks and emergency services.

“You start reducing values in those certain communities by as much as we think we’ll end up reducing, that’s going to have an impact on their future revenues as well,” Keith said.

Both Keith and Joseph acknowledged the immediate need to help storm victims and the long-term effects will be far-reaching and long-lasting.

“We’re going to be dealing with this for months and years to come, really,” Keith said.

You can find information about property taxes here or visit the Auditor’s website here.