Inside INdiana Business has the good news today regarding MySmartgov’s success on Election Day. Many voters in the state supported moving township assessing duties to the counties — a move that was encouraged by the Kernan-Shepard Report and supported by the Indiana Chamber.
Voters in 31 of the 43 townships where township assessors still existed called for uniform assessments and fair taxation yesterday by voting to eliminate township assessors.
“Voters across the state cried ‘Enough!’ loudly and clearly,” said Marilyn Schultz, executive director of MySmartgov.org, an organization formed to advocate for streamlined local government. “Their votes were a resounding call for change in the antiquated, redundant and unfair way that property has been assessed in Indiana for far too long.”
The decisive vote is an unambiguous sign to members of the General Assembly that Hoosiers want to update and streamline their local government, most of which was established to meet 19th-century needs. Lawmakers will be asked during the upcoming legislative session to enact additional reforms recommended by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform.
Yesterday’s Indianapolis Star featured a column by Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes articulating the fundamental problems plaguing Indiana’s township assessments. Here are some highlights, but please take the time to read the entire piece as it is quite illuminating:
I was elected county assessor, and began my first term on Jan. 1, 2007. I did not receive the assessments from the townships until after Jan. 31, 2007, more than seven months late. When I did receive them, not one of the nine township assessors had done the assessments correctly. In fact, the governor ordered reassessment in part because the township assessors made no changes in more than 70 percent of the commercial properties in Marion County, and this after a four-year period where no revisions were mandated.
When the reassessment was completed, an additional 30 percent in commercial value was identified, and massive changes were made in the residential properties in at least two of the nine townships. The reassessment injected a third bill into our tax year, and delayed the normal cycle by eight months. No wonder the mortgage companies are confused …
On the Nov. 4 ballot is a public question we must all consider seriously. It will read: "Should the assessing duties of the elected township assessor in the township be transferred to the county assessor?" If taxpayers want their assessments done correctly and on time, they should vote "yes."