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.
Washington Township Assessor