Chesterton Tribune



Tax caps hit Porter town budget

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Porter is expected to see a smaller final cash balance in its general fund for 2018 than 2017 due in part to property tax caps.

The Town’s 2018 net assessed values that were certified earlier this month saw a small decrease from $228.5 million in 2017 to $227.4 million.

Eric Walsh, a partner with the Town’s financial advising firm Umbaugh & Associates, said tax cap impacts are greater when the AV of a taxing unit dips or stays stagnant as Porter saw.

“The state’s growth quotient on maximum levies is four percent this year. If your property tax stays stagnant, you are going to have more people hitting the caps because tax rate is related to assessed value and levy,” Walsh said.

Porter’s estimated loss due to tax caps for 2018 is $244,854 which is more than $10,000 higher than 2017’s estimated figure of $234,009.

According to state law, residential property taxes are capped at 1 percent of assessed value, farm and rental properties are 2 percent and commercial properties at 3 percent.

A home assessed at $100,000 can only be taxed for $1,000, no matter the combined total property tax rate. Should the taxes owed be more than $1,000, the excess will be counted as circuit breaker loss, Walsh said.

Porter’s General Fund ending cash balance is expected to be $757,000 in 2018 while 2017’s figure was a little over $900,000, but the line item for budgeted disbursments is to grow by about $100,000 in the fund.

Because of the growth quotient, the General Fund is expected to receive $1.5 million from gross property taxes for 2018 whereas 2017 was closer to $1.4 million.

Walsh said that overall, all the funds in Porter’s budget will likely have positive cash balances, much better than five years ago.

“I think your 2018 budget is in pretty good shape. All your funds are pretty strong. Cash balances enable you to spend a little more than what you have been bringing in and you haven’t been able to do that in the past,” Walsh said.

The Town will again transfer $200,000 from its County Local Income Tax distribution, which will help offset some of the circuit breaker impacts, he said.

Walsh said he doesn’t foresee any event in 2018 that would cause the Town to spend into negative cash flows.

Council President Greg Stinson thanked Walsh and Umbaugh & Associates for helping the Town budgets stay in the black.

“I feel a lot better than what I did my first year in office. On a major event and we were going to be in real trouble. Now we have the cash flows we can sustain not only in our budget but if something should come up that’s unplanned, we do have cash reserve to meet those needs,” Stinson said.

The Council will hold a public hearing on the budget at one of its meetings in September.

Department reports

In department reports, Parks Director Brian Bugajski requested the rental fee for Hawthorne Park be waived for the Porter Perfect Pint event and silent auction on Saturday, Oct. 14. The event is hosted jointly by Leroy’s Hot Stuff and Pat’s Liquors. Proceeds go to benefit the Porter Parks Department and Fire Department.

The Council approved the request 5-0.

Also, Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer announced road closures that are happening this week for paving. Roads around the Baillytown area were closed Wednesday and Thursday but are expected to open back up on Friday.



Posted 8/24/2017




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