Chesterton Tribune

DLGF approves county 2010 budget orders and tax rates

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Porter County is another step closer to getting its 2010 tax bills on time.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance on Wednesday certified the county’s 2010 budget order and tax rates before the Feb. 15 deadline. The budget certification came 261 days sooner than 2009’s budget, which was certified in October.

The DLGF issued a press release this morning saying the county is in a position to have on-time tax billing, the first time in at least three years. Porter County Jim Kopp, who could not be reached for comment this morning, has mentioned he does expect his office to meet the deadline.

Kopp submitted the certified net assessed values on Dec. 10, just a week after the first installment of the county’s 2009 tax bill due date. Kopp told the Chesterton Tribune in December he appreciated all the hard effort his staff put in and said the additional overtime approved by the county council and the county commissioners really paid off.

Porter County Assessor John Scott this morning said his office has been blamed by the auditor’s office for not getting the 2010 assessment data in sooner. Scott attributed the delays to the Hamer software system purchased under a recommendation by the auditor’s office when Scott advised against it during his first year in office.

Scott said the Hamer system cost his office nearly 22 months to fix the assessed values and is still causing problems to this day. He said the county’s current software vendors, Low and Xsoft, allowed for a much quicker calculation of the 2010 assessed values.

“You can make up money, it’s something you can always find someplace else, but time is something you can’t make up,” said Scott.

Scott said if the computer problems had not arisen, the work would have been done on time. He said Kopp’s “mistake” cost the county over $1,000,000.

With the DLGF’s certification of the 2010 budget, the remaining work is to be handled at the county level. The Porter County Auditor’s office will calculate the tax bills, which are due to the county treasurer by April 23.

The DLGF also reported that Porter County is the 62nd of the Indiana’s 92 counties to have the budget certified.

Taxpayers interested in estimating their property tax bill may visit the DLGF’s Web site, www.in.gov/dlgf

 A copy of the budget is also available at www.in.gov/dlgf/2559.htm

“The entire property tax system relies on many different parts to run smoothly,” DLGF commissioner Timothy J. Rushenberg said. “Teamwork and communication among all involved in the assessment-to-tax billing process at the state and local level has brought us to a point not seen in years where property tax bills should actually be mailed and due on time.”

The DLGF is calling 2010 the “year of no excuses.” Only counties Kosciuosko and Owen had their 2009 tax bills on time.

 

Posted 2/11/2010