Property tax confusion continues

Wanda English Burnett - Editor

‘ Don’t be confused by the Notice of Assessment you received in the mail last week, the hype coming from some lawmakers, or the panic induced by local radio station WSCH concerning your property taxes. That’s the message from Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn.

As the air waves blared that local landowners were suffering from property tax increase, Bushhorn cautioned, “We don’t even have the actual tax rate yet to compute these figures.”

Last week some property owners in Center Township received their State Form 21366 & 45650, which is a Notice of Assessment of Land & Structures. Plainly on the form that shows the last assessment compared to the new one effective March 1, there is a disclaimer that reads, “This change in value is due to the annual adjustment for trending based on the sales in your area. If you have any questions you can call the Assessor’s Office at 689-5656.” No where does it give the new tax figures.

The landowner who took his assessment to the media had not called the Assessor last Thursday when the story aired saying he would owe as much as $26,000 more in taxes this year compared to last. He told the radio station his taxes would increase by $14,000 alone for 400 of his total 1000 acres owned.

This all came just before Indiana lawmakers were making final decisions concerning taxes last week, with Sunday being the deadline.

Bushhorn says some property tax payers will see an increase due to the trending that was mandated by the state this year. But, last Thursday, April 26 she didn’t have the new tax rate and was still uncertain about how things would shake out in the legislature.

Being a property owner herself, Bushhorn is concerned about the potential increase, but said there was no way an exact amount on anyone’s taxes could be known at this time. A press release received Monday from Representative Cleo Duncan noted that taxes are expected to increase by 24 percent this year. However, that figure cannot be taken to the bank because there are a lot of variables that will make the end result a different figure, according to Bushhorn. As of yesterday morning, the local assessor still did not have anything definite to pass on the taxpayers. She’s waiting for information from the state.

Locally, it doesn’t matter if you’re serving in a government office as a Democrat or a Republican, when the state gives a mandate, that’s what has to be followed.