Last week, the Indiana Department of Local Government finance issued the
Porter County Budget Orders and Final Tax Rates for the 2013 property taxes.
In Duneland, it should come as little surprise that each of the taxing units
saw a bump in their tax rates. A narrow majority of voters said “yea” to a
referendum last May raising the tax rates by 22 cents per $100 of assessed
value to keep the Duneland School Corporation’s operating budget from
declining further and causing drastic cuts.
The Duneland School Board voted to use the maximum 22-cent rate for this
year, but said it looks to take less each following year until the
referendum ends in 2019.
Rates in Duneland ranged from 1.6929 in Jackson Twp to 2.8943 in Portage
Tax rates were generally up in the county with Hebron (Boone) having the top
rate of 3.0760. The lowest is Pine Twp.-Michigan City School Corporation
with a rate of 1.0019.
The state also listed the countywide homestead credit at .090485 for 2013
County Auditor Robert Wichlinski said there are many reasons tax rates will
either decline or increase, and a referendum would certainly be one of them.
Wichlinski added that school referendums are not at all affected by the
state’s “1-2-3” caps on property taxes– one percent maximum on homestead
residential properties, two percent on agricultural and rental properties,
and three percent on commercial, Wichlinski said.
When it comes to determining a tax rate, the Indiana Department of Local
Government Finance will set the certified levy and issue a budget order. The
rate will then depend on the taxing unit’s total assessed value. As the levy
increases and the AV goes down, the more the state will have to raise the
rate, Wichlinski said.
Tax rates are computed by dividing the total tax levy by the total net
assessed value, which is then divided by 100.
When taxpayers get their 2012 pay 2013 tax bills in the spring, there will
be several different rates including the county, the school district, the
township, and in some cases city/town, libraries, fire departments,
conservancy districts and redevelopment commissions.
County Treasurer Mike Bucko said that taxpayers can find instructions on how
their bill was calculated when they receive their bill.
A county Tax Bill Estimator feature is on the DLGF’s website, www.in.gov/dlgf.
Wichlinski added that as rates go up, the closer properties will come to
hitting their caps and therefore stymieing the tax levies. Now that the tax
caps are part of the Indiana State Constitution, Wichlinski advised local
governments to plan for the future and try to stay within the financial
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” said Wichlinski.
Unlike school districts, the state does not give county and municipal
governments the option of establishing a referendum to raise rates on
property taxes, Wichlinski said.
The DLGF also commented that Porter County is on schedule for on time tax
bills. Taxes could be due as early as May 10. Porter County was the 34th
county in the state to receive its 2013 budget order and tax rates.
“The certification of the budget order and tax rates sets the stage nicely
for on-time tax bills for the fourth consecutive year, continuing the
predictable administration of the property tax system,” DLGF Commissioner
Micah Vincent said in a press release. “A tremendous amount of collaboration
between local and state officials is required to ensure property tax bills
go out on time, and it is rewarding to see all the efforts pay off.”
Now that the 2013 budget has been certified by the DLGF, the county auditor
is to calculate tax bills, which the county treasurer should mail to
taxpayers no later than April 25.
highest to lowest
Listed in descending order are the 2013 tax rates along with 2012 rates for
comparison (in parentheses):
Portage City-Westchester Twp. – 2.8943 (2.5266)
Porter Town (Westchester Twp.) – 2.7147 (2.4991)
Chesterton-Westchester Twp. – 2.5243 (2.2080)
Chesterton-Liberty Twp. – 2.4593 (2.1469)
Chesterton-Jackson Twp. – 2.4429 (2.1296)
Burns Harbor (WestchesterTwp.) –2.0978 (1.7806)
Dune Acres (Westchester Twp.) – 2.0627 (1.7767)
Westchester Twp. – 1.7875 (1.5045)
Liberty Twp. – 1.7420 (1.4661)
Pine Twp.-Duneland School Corporation – 1.7364 (1.4674)
Jackson Twp. – 1.6929 (1.4126)
Hebron (Boone Twp.) – 3.0760 (3.0637)
Portage City-Portage Twp. – 2.8165 (2.5470)
Valparaiso-Washington Twp. – 2.7808 (2.7730)
Valparaiso (Center Twp.) – 2.6983 (2.6165)
Boone Twp. – 2.4595 (2.4253)
Ogden Dunes (Portage Twp.) – 2.1363 (1.9530)
Kouts (Pleasant Twp.) – 2.1197 (2.0515)
Portage Twp. – 1.9700 (1.7169)
Porter Twp. – 1.7955 (1.5144)
Porter Twp.-West Porter Fire – 1.7808 (1.4802)
Washington Twp. – 1.7875 (1.5045)
Center Twp. – 1.6602 (1.6073)
Pleasant Twp. – 1.6856 (1.7127)
Morgan Twp. – 1.6149 (1.6415)
Union Twp. – 1.5663 (1.7385)
Beverly Shores (Pines Twp.) – 1.3965 (1.7045)
Pines Town (Pines Twp.) – 1.3655 (1.6835)
Pine Twp.-Michigan City School Corporation – 1.0019 (1.2923)