News and Tribune

April 23, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For April 23


Man upset with property tax bill

 

Yesterday, I received my property tax statements for 2012 and I am very disappointed in the office of Floyd County Assessor Patricia Badger-Byrd.

In December, like many other residents of Floyd County, I received notice of a reassessment of my Floyd County properties. I was shocked to see that all three parcels of land that I own were reassessed upwards by as much as 350 percent. This was especially surprising as I just four months earlier had all three parcels appraised by two independent appraisers at values that were lower than what the county had previously appraised the property for. 

I was told by the appraisers that the lower appraisal reflected the drop in property values that accompanied the 2008 recession. I called the Floyd County Assessor’s office to inquire why the property had been reassessed at such a high rate and was told it was not due to increased property values, but because the state had told their office that Floyd County lagged behind the rest of the state in appraised property values. I then sent the assessor’s office copies of my independent appraisals and advised them that the house next door (of nearly comparable value) had sold for half of what they had appraised my home/land for, appealing their reassessment.

Last week when I received my property tax statement (five months after my appeal), I again called the assessor’s office and informed them that I had received the statement, but had not received a reply to my appeal. The lady who answered the office phone told me that there were still more than a thousand appeals pending and that they had not had time to review them yet. She said everyone is to pay the higher tax rates by the May due date regardless of whether or not the higher rate is appropriate. If the tax rate is reduced as a result of my appeal, she continued, I will receive a refund at some future date.

To me, this whole matter smells to high heaven. If others also feel the county is raising taxes for an unjust reason and putting the cart before the horse in collecting taxes that are as yet undetermined, I encourage them to speak up. I’ll be happy to pay what I owe based on a fair assessment, when that assessment is finally determined.

— Dennis Feiock, New Albany

 

Clark Council member opposes tax in bill

 

Please act now and contact your state representative and state senator to let them know you oppose letting a county income tax council impose a county motor vehicle excise surtax and wheel tax (only the county council is permitted by current state law to impose these taxes). 

Because three county council members are elected at-large and four are elected from districts, a countywide motor vehicle excise surtax and wheel tax can now only be passed by county council members who collectively represent all of the county population.

Here’s some background:

The Indiana Senate passed SB 389 on Jan. 29 by a 37-11 vote. However, SB 389 did not progress any further through the General Assembly legislative process because the identical bill HB 1117 was defeated in the Indiana House on Feb. 18 by a 31-67 vote. Only 68 General Assembly members voted to permit a county income tax council to impose a countywide motor vehicle excise surtax and wheel tax, while 78 members voted against this taxpayer unfriendly scheme to circumvent the American concept of government where laws are passed by public servants who represent a majority of the citizens who will be impacted by those laws.

Even though the majority of General Assembly members have already voted against allowing the imposition of a countywide motor vehicle excise surtax and wheel tax by a county income tax council, this repudiated taxpayer unfriendly approach has been included in the version of the state budget bill (Indiana House Bill 1001) that is now in conference committee. 

We must let our General Assembly public servants know that we disapprove of the unethical maneuver to include in our state budget bill HB 1001 the already-defeated county income tax council scheme to impose countywide motor vehicle excise surtaxes and wheel taxes.

— Kelly Khuri, Clark County Council member