"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Must read message from an ELECTED public servant: Letter from Washington Township Assessor

A Cowardly, Unidentified Attack on the Township Assessors

An undisclosed source mailed an irresponsible piece to the voters ofMarion County stating that our property tax system is a “trainwreck”.

Instead of many of the township assessors being poorly trained, all ofthem have their Indiana Level II assessor/appraiser designation and manyhave the necessary credits to receive their Level III as soon as it isoffered. Many people on their staffs do as well. Should the offices beconsolidated, the county assessor would have to draw from those verypeople because they are the primary source of prospects knowledgeable inassessing.

It is true that almost one out of four commercial/industrialreassessments were wrong and were appealed. The county assessorcontracted with an out-of-state firm for these reassessments and announced that they had done a good job. The private company that redid the assessments is the one who made so many mistakes on the tax bills. The county paid $1.8 million to the vendor, added four highly paid employees to his staff, increased his budget by $500,000 annually, paid for two extra mailings of tax bills, and has had to borrow millions because of thedelay. Out of the 52 commercial/industrial appeals heard so far for Washington Township there was a reduction of $67 million in assessed value (averaging over $1,288,000 each), or $2 million in revenue which all taxpayers will have to make up in the future.

Had the original assessed values produced by the townships been retained, only$425 thousand in income would have been lost by appeals for the group. This is only the tip of the iceberg. 21.5% of the commercial/industrialproperties have been appealed so far with many remaining to be logged in.

As more appeals are resolved, the county will have to borrow additionalmoney. This is the mess that needs to be fixed.

On the other hand, the township assessors reassessed the residentialproperties and less than 2% of that total was appealed.

The eight township assessors followed the guidelines of the StateDepartment of Local Government Finance (DLGF); the county assessor wouldhave to do the same. The flaws are in the system that assessors must use.They have been identified by a consultant and corrective measures havebeen presented to the DLGF for their consideration.

The movement to eliminate the township government is born out ofideology, rather than practicality. Streamlining government at anyexpense is frivolous. There is no duplication of duties between thetownship assessors and the county assessor. The county assessor ’s officedoes not assess property; never has. The county assessor has been inoffice less than two years and has had no previous assessing experience.This represents the train wreck about to happen.

Joline Ohmart,
Washington Township Assessor


Anonymous said...

Dear Joline:
The assessment job that you and the rest of the Marion county twp. assessors gave to the property tax homeowners was the ONE that resulted in hundreds of homeowners taking to the STREETS with signs and outrage. Did you ever go to the legislature to get rid of this system prior to the debacle? NO.
Every time I went in to challenge the archaic rules etc. I was told "go see the legislature."
The same office defended my unfair and unequal assessment by saying "none of my complaints had validity -it was all market based you know." "If it is in the ballpark of what you could sell it for, why should you complain." You also did not bother to do the business property which gave the homeowner more grief resulting in the governor calling for reassessment. It is still a damn mess -and the basic system needs to be scrapped.
I will also still say regardless of whether if was done by local assessors offices or not that by virtue of living in certain areas of the city the taxrate is higher due to percieved wealth. A $100,000 house in one area should pay the same for that $100,000 house no matter where it is located.
As far as I am concerned you all and your fancy logic defending your jobs over the taxpayer, can now apply for unemployement. First down with all the assessors -next to the legislature to tackle total elimiation of this onerous tax.
Signed Must Read Message from Meridian Kessler Sucker

Anonymous said...

Dear Sucker, (from the previous post)

The property tax changes were driven at the State level, not the local level. Whose job is it to manage the types of laws followed by government - the government employees, or the voters? So... the first question you need to ask yourself is "should I shoot the messenger, or should I go after those who sent the message"? You obviously haven't taken a step back to analyze your own rationale.
Second - if something like this ever happens again, where the State legislature eliminates a business tax and replaces it with your property tax, do you believe that eliminating local representation and substituting them with county representation will solve the problem? Or will it move the problem further from your control? Please think before following the advice of media and government.
If it will solve the problem, please explain how.
And third - if I recall correctly, your legislature has no plans to eliminate property taxes. They plan to make them a Constitutional requirement.
The citizens of Indiana have just been dealt a planned Hegelian style deceit. Your taxes were raised intentionally, prompting you to respond favorably to the "solution" of eliminating local government and acceptance of a Constitutionally mandated property tax.
If there's a sucker born every minute, you can probably calculate the approximate US population based upon the Indiana birth reate. You've all been had.