Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


July 9, 2013

Herbert: Controversy over tax increase based on misunderstanding, wildly overblown


According to Robbins, the Circuit Breaker amounts are different depending on the type of property. Homeowners, for instance (who properties are defined as “homesteads” under the law) can pay no more than 1 percent of the total value of their property in taxes.

A homeowner who property is valued at $100,000, Robbins said, would be capped by the Circuit Breaker Law at no more than $1,000 in total property tax.

The Circuit Breaker is 2 percent for “rentals or AG land,” Robbins added, and 3 percent for “commercial/industrial” properties.

“Therefore,” he explained, “if the hypothetical homeowner whose house is valued at $100,000 was already paying $1,000 in property tax for any given year, they would pay no additional tax regardless of an increase in the Cumulative Capital Development Fund Tax.”

The same rule, he added, would apply to property owners under the 2 or 3 percent Circuit Breaker.

In estimating how much the increase to the city’s Cumulative Capital Development Tax will cost in terms of real-world money, Robbins again referred to the hypothetical homeowner with an assessed property value of $100,000.

“For that homeowner,” he said, “we’re talking about 60 additional cents per month added to his or her property tax bill - $7 a year.”

He added, “If, however, that hypothetical homeowner hits $1,000 in total property tax for any given year, they would pay nothing over that amount.”

He further explained, “We’ve also estimated that a commercial property owner with a hypothetical assessed value of $250,000 will pay $4.92 per month.”

As small as those numbers sound, he added, they will nonetheless translate into significant increased revenue for the city. “The city’s overall revenue,” he said, “will be increased by $144,734.12.”

“This has been a long, involved process,” Herbert said. “We’ve had to do a budget for how we’ll use the extra money.”

According to both Herbert and Robbins, there were also a number of special council meetings that had to be held and official, public “readings” of the increase before it could be adopted. And although the council has completed those steps (special sessions were held on both June 10 and 17), the increase still can’t be formally adopted until the end of a 30-day remonstrance period, wherein citizens can voice opposition to the increase. That period will end July 22.

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