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May 11, 2012

Clark County Commissioners OK tax increases

Hikes for two funds unanimously approved

JEFFERSONVILLE — Tax rates for two of Clark County’s funds will be increasing if they are accepted by the Department of Local Government Finance.

The Clark County Commissioners unanimously approved increases to both the county’s Cumulative Capital Fund and Cumulative Bridge fund Thursday night.

An increase in the rate to the county’s cumulative bridge fund, which was re-established in 2010, was unanimously approved.

“Because of budgetary constraints you reduced the bridge fund, in order to maximize the general fund,” said Clark County Commissioners Attorney Greg Fifer. “Two years ago, when it was reinstituted that bridge fund raises about $320,000 a year, and I think it was known that wouldn’t be self-sustaining for a long period of time.”

When the commissioners reinstituted the cumulative bridge fund in 2010, it was at a rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Thursday the commissioners approved a proposal — ordinance 20-2012 — that would increase the bridge fund rate to 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Commissioner John Perkins said Clark County is responsible for the maintenance of 133 bridges throughout the county.

Fifer said the maximum the cumulative bridge rate can be is 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.

For a $100,000 home the total a taxpayer would pay for the cumulative bridge fund annually is $50.

The commissioners also approved raising the rate of their cumulative capital fund.

The current rate to county taxpayers for the fund is .018 cents per $100 of assessed value and if the increase is approved, the rate will nearly double. Ordinance 21-2012 would raise the cumulative capital rate to .0333 cents per $100 of assessed value.

For a $100,000 home the rate will cost a county taxpayer a total of about $33 per year.

Last year, the commissioners attempted to increase the rate of their cumulative capital fund by the same increase, but it was not approved by the DLGF.

Clark County Commissioner Ed Meyer said the reason the increase in the rate was rejected was because there was a stated purpose for the additional funding.

“We were saying we were going to use it for insurance,” he said.

He added that the increase is needed to the cumulative capital fund now because the county’s reserve fund is down to about $6,000 to $7,000.

The commissioners, during the meeting, reiterated that increasing the cumulative capital fund rate to add to the county’s reserves was among several recommendations made by Indianapolis-based Umbaugh and Associates to improve the county’s financial standing.

Fifer, at last year’s July meeting, said the increase in the cumulative capital fund would allow the commissioners to collect more than $600,000 in additional taxes, totaling about $1.4 million a year.

When the commissioners approved the increase in 2011, a host of local residents were in attendance to speak out against the increase.

There were no speakers in attendance who opposed either one of the rate increases Thursday.

The funding from the rate increase will not be realized until next year and both ordinances are still subject to approval by the Department of Local Government Finance before they are enacted.

Look for more information from Thursday’s commissioners meeting in an upcoming edition of the News and Tribune.

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