Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

County tax rates wrong; state to issue revised list

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance will revise Porter Countyís 2010 Budget Order and Tax Rate again this week because the county auditorís office certified an assessed value for the town of Burns Harbor, that was more than $100 million higher than it should have been.

The budget order issued last week by the DLGF showed the assessed values for Burns Harbor were certified for $637 million, which was more than $103 million higher than last year. Burns Harbor Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said she suspected the value was incorrect.

Jordan said the error was made because certain properties under abatement at Mittal Steel were left in the assessed values. She said she suspected the error when she attended the public hearing on Feb. 5 held by the DLGF and said that the assessed values for Burns Harbor in the budget order were more than 20 percent higher than 2009. She said she thought it was ďunusualĒ since growth had slowed in the town.

Jordan said after speaking to several officials in the county assessorís and auditorís office on why the growth was significant, the auditorís office reported the values came from personal property. The auditorís office also suspected that the rise was caused by some of the tax abatements which had esxpired.

But Jordan contacted Mittal Steel over last week and said their tax accountants reported the millís assessed value dropped more than $21 million.

Jordan said she was told on Friday by Alizabeth Bailey, executive deputy of the Porter County Auditorís office, that the personal property should have been abated and that the new net assessed value should have been $511 million. Jordan said she was told that the DLGF would need to issue a revised budget order. The new budget order will list new tax rates for Burns Harbor along with all other taxing units since the county, township and schools assessed value will also need to be revised.

DLGF Communications Special-ist Amanda Stanley confirmed the state was made aware of the inaccurate figures and said they plan to work with the county auditorís office to issue a new budget order by the end of this week.

Jordan said if the county would have issued tax bills with the incorrect assessed values, Burns Harbor would have seen shortfalls in its funding of up to 20 percent, or about $600,000. The tax rate for Burns Harbor will also be higher than what the DLGF originally issued.

This will be the second revision made to the 2010 county budget order. The DLGF revised the order on Thursday to include the homestead credit rates which originally were left out.

The Chesterton Tribune, which printed the list of tax rates on Friday, will print the revised tax rates once they are issued by the DLGF.

 

 

 

Posted 2/15/2010

 

 

 

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