bills to be late
Trending process could raise or lower taxes
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
While Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn hopes the delay
in tax bills wont be a repeat of 2001, she knows the reality
of the situation at hand. Bushhorn and 91 other assessors across
the state have been working to comply with state mandates for property
assessments to mirror the real estate market. The assessors have
had to pull local sales records and create formulas to update property
Described as trending Bushhorn says the new procedure
requires reassessment of property based on sales of similar properties.
An example given by Gary Malone, Executive Partner with Umbaugh,
noted, ...in a housing unit of 150 houses, if 20 were sold
in the past 2 years, the ratio of selling price to assessed value
would be computed. This allows valuation of surrounding properties
to increase without a physical inspection. Bushhorn predicts the
new process to be the wave of the future.
Bushhorn warns the trending process, which is required by the Department
of Local Government Finance, could cost some taxpayers additional
money when paying their property taxes this Spring. While some of
the percentages look daunting on paper, the final computation might
not be as drastic. The problem is, she doesnt have all of
the data to give the general public an exact amount at this time.
Working with state officials on the new process has been frustrating
for Bushhorn, who last week had finally seen results from work she
had been doing since August of last year. Requesting that Representative
Cleo Duncan pay her a visit to see what she had been through, Bushhorn
said, Its a long process and Ill work until midnight
if I have to to get it straightened out. Her vehicle could
be found after hours last week at the courthouse as she held true
to her word.
The process requires:
Sales Ratio Study submitted to DLGF (Department of Local
Government Finance) by County Assessor.
Sales Ratio Study approved by DLGF.
County Auditor submits Certified Net Assessed Values to DLGF.
DLGF issues budget order to County Auditor.
Reports were given that all 92 counties missed their August 2006
deadline to give assessment date. Ive had the initial
work completed since August, Bushhorn noted, but couldnt
get through to state officials for approval. Its been a long,
complicated process that at times has been frustrating for the local
assessor. The assessors ratio study was approved on April
2. The trending process is in progress, but taxes cant be
computed until the auditor receives the tax rate from the state.
Bushhorn knows the impact trending could have on taxpayers
and she also knows that delayed tax bills means delayed funds for
various agencies including school corporations and county entities
that count on those dollars to operate.
I hope people can be patient, she concluded, saying
her office is doing everything they can to be in compliance and
make the process go as smoothly as possible.
If taxpayers have a question regarding their statement (once they
receive it), Bushhorn would be glad to discuss it with them. She
said as a property owner, shes in the same boat as everyone
else and knows that an increase in taxes is the last thing anyone
The bills are expected to be late, but hopefully will be out in
time to be received back in the Treasurers Office by June
or possibly July.