Property taxes should be on time

Wanda English Burnett
Staff Writer

A recent announcement from the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) noted that Ripley County’s 2010 budget order and tax rates have been certified.

This means bills for property taxes should be on time for the first time in at least three years. The DLGF noted that the budget certification came 118 days sooner than last year - allowing the county to be in a position to actually have the due date for taxes to be May 10 - a date taxpayers used to count on.

“The entire property tax system relies on many different parts to run smoothly,” Timothy J. Rushenberg, DLGF commissioner, noted. He said teamwork and communication among everyone involved is the reason the property tax bills should actually be mailed out on time.

A lot goes into the process of the final billing property taxpayers receive.

The first step to the tax billing process is the completion of the property assessments. This is completed with the submission of a ratio study, which is a comparison between property sales prices and assessed values in the county. The process is to ensure that market values are being used to determine assessed values.

Information from the DLGF noted that Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn had submitted the 2010 ratio study on August 18, 2009. This completes one step of the process.

Then, when the DLGF approves the ratio study, the assessor sends the gross assessed values to the county’s auditor. This is where exemptions, deductions or abatements are applied, determining the net assessed values - the values which tax rates are based on. Then Ripley County Auditor Mary Ann McCoy submitted certified net assessed values on November 24, 2009.

This completed phase two.

The certification of the 2010 budget has been completed by the DGLF and is now back to the county. The new auditor, Bill Wagner, will calculate tax bills, which should be mailed by the county treasurer’s office no later than April 23, 2010.

While Wagner just took office January 1 and is new to the process in the auditor’s office, he felt confident they would be able to work within the time frame of getting the taxes out by the due date. “Everything is on schedule now,” he told The Versailles Republican on the second day of February. He said they are waiting for a rate from the state to figure the homestead credits, but felt they would be able to get the job done.

The smooth process is only made possible with every piece of the puzzle coming together, and this year it seems to be coming together nicely, according to officials.

Taxpayers interested in estimating their property tax bill can use the DLGF’s online property tax calculator at Taxpayers will need to know their property’s assessed value, deductions, and taxing district to use the tool. The estimates provided are only projections and should not be taken as a statement of true tax liability, according to DLGF officials.