With Indiana counties having just a few days to consider passing an
ordinance to give delinquent taxpayers a break on their back taxes, the
Porter County Council refrained from action Tuesday to grant amnesty on
In House Enrolled Act 1090, the state gives county councils the authority to
grant a one-year moratorium on all penalties and interest on unpaid taxes
owed before Jan. 1 this year. If the taxpayer can redeem all current and
delinquent taxes by July 1, 2013, with the county treasurers office, their
fees would be dropped. The one-time amnesty is an incentive for taxpayers to
stay off the lists for tax sales and a chance for counties to recoup taxes
The county commissioners looked at the new law a few months ago when the
county auditors office proposed a plan to waive back taxes on multi-unit
dwellings in violation of their homestead credit if the property owner
corrected their records with the auditors office. The plan was dropped
however when the state said no law exists for counties to grant amnesty.
A few council members said at that time they would consider a measure to
help out delinquent taxpayers. Council vice-president Karen Conover, R-3rd,
towards the end of the meeting Tuesday reminded her peers they needed to
decide on it before July 1.
Council president Dan Whitten, D-at large, said he has continued discussions
with a few taxpayers and came to the conclusion that having payment plans
with amnesty would not be fair to those residents who do make timely
Council member Sylvia Graham said she consulted the county treasurers office
which advised her that only a small percentage of properties have been late
on taxes and echoed Whittens comments.
"I do believe it is unfair to people who pay their taxes on time," she said.
County Treasurer Mike Bucko said 74,577 of the countys 81,958 parcels are up
to date on their taxes and 1,750 properties are in bankruptcy. He said he
recently sent an e-mail to other treasurers to ask if their counties had
enacted the policy and Lake was the only one which responded saying they
The council ended up not voting on a motion to adopt the policy, instead
Council member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, moved to adjourn the meeting.
Conover showed strong interest in the plan saying this one-time deal could
have helped a few residents save their homes.
"Some people have fallen on hard times," she said.
Council member Laura Blaney, D-at large, said the county could look into
other payment plans to help keep taxpayers properties off the tax sale list.