Chesterton Tribune

 

 

On time: Porter County property tax bills are in the mail

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The stress and agony over late tax bills in Porter County continues to become a distant memory as Treasurer Mike Bucko, Assessor Jon Snyder and Auditor Robert Wichlinski announced Thursday the fifth consecutive year of on-time billing.

Bucko said the accomplishment was due in part to collaboration with his fellow elected officials.

“I will say this year has been the most seamless when it comes to working across offices to accomplish the task,” said Bucko.

The billing process starts with the assessor who determines the gross assessed value. The auditor applies exemptions, deductions and abatements to get the net assessed values, which are then given to the Indiana Department of Local Government to certify budgets for all government units. Once the budgets are finalized, the auditor’s office calculates the tax bills and then the Treasurer prints and mails them.

The 2013 pay 2014 property tax bills made it off the printer seven days earlier than last year, Bucko said.

Bills were sent to the post office on Tuesday and have been hitting mailboxes since, he added. Spring payments will be due on Monday, May 12. Fall installments will be due Monday, Nov. 10.

Wichlinski gave credit to Low and Associates software specialists, based in South Bend, for their help in calculating budget abstracts. He said this year he has better able to project the impacts of the state’s 1-2-3 property tax caps.

Last year, 5,300 property tax bills in Duneland were corrected and sent out after the auditor’s office learned that revenue from the school referendum approved in 2012 is exempt from the tax caps.

With more accurate budget projections, and the assessor’s office being caught up with appeals, units of government can a better handle on funding their operations, Wichlinski said. “That’s where timeliness becomes everything,” said Wichlinski, who also acknowledged that even in his office’s best effort there will be some mistakes along the way.

Snyder reminds taxpayers that the date to appeal their assessment for the 2013 pay 2014 bills has passed. Appeals are to be made 45 days after taxpayers receive their Form 11 assessment notices in the fall. The last day to appeal was Nov. 6, Snyder said.

Snyder said his office is ahead of where they were last year for the 2014 pay 2015 assessments.

Wichlinski said what’s most rewarding about the process is seeing workers from his staff asking questions and getting answers from employees in the assessor and treasurer office. He said the recent staff restructuring in the auditor’s office, which included the elimination of five employees, has in fact sped up operations.

Bucko said the process has been easier on him as well with the contracted services of Gov-Tech. Gov-Tech works between banks, escrow and mortgage companies to make sure that the 39,000 of the 84,500 parcels in the county can pay their taxes error free with these companies and is no cost to County government, Bucko said.

The relationship minimizes the process of surplus tax refund payments having to be paid back to the taxpayer and virtually eliminates double payments, Bucko said.

 

Posted 4/11/2014