Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indiana has exemplary record this year on tax bills

Property tax bills on-time in 85 counties, saving taxpayers millions in dollars
from (Department of Local Government Finance - Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS (April 14, 2010) – Hoosier property taxpayers are seeing something in their mail they are not accustomed to seeing in the spring – their property tax bills. The Department of Local Government Finance today announced that for the first time since 2002, property tax bills in at least 85 counties will be mailed in spring, resulting in the normal May 10 due date.

Only two counties – Kosciusko and Owen –billed on-time in 2009, while no county achieved on-time billing in 2008. On-time tax bills mean lower costs for the State’s 2,691 cities, towns, townships, schools, libraries, and other special districts. “It took too long to get here, but a great cooperative effort has brought this process current,” Governor Mitch Daniels said. “The result is our cities, schools and libraries will get their funding in a timely manner and will no longer have to borrow while they wait on a check.”

(To facilitate on-time billing, the Department conducted at least part of the assessment work in three counties – Lake, LaPorte, and Porter.)

Late tax bills have been costly to local units of government, which rely on property tax revenue to operate. While a total dollar figure paid in interest due to late tax bills is not known, the Indiana Bond Bank stated that borrowing by local government units reached nearly $950 million in calendar year 2008, $518 million in 2009, and $133,000 so far for 2010. According to the Indiana Department of Education, schools borrowed over $42 million in calendar year 2008 and over $13 million in the first half of 2009.

“With more local government units returning to normal billing and collection cycles, the need by these entities to borrow will more than likely continue to return to normal levels as we have witnessed over the past year and a half,” State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who serves has Chairman of the Indiana Bond Bank, said.

Delays in the past several years have been attributed to the change to the market value-based property tax system and the onset of “trending” – the updating of property values annually to reflect the property’s market value in use. Additionally, a statewide review of assessments resulted in several counties having to re-do work, and many counties experienced software changes to upgrade technology.

Now that the normal billing cycle has been restored, state and local officials are working to maintain the predictability for next year, setting a goal of on-time billing in 91 of the state’s 92 counties, a feat that has not happened since 2000.

Contact: Mary Jane Michalak, 317.232.3785, or
Amanda Stanley, 317.233.9218,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

State revenues increase

From Department of Local Government Finance this morning:

One other interesting note, in case you haven't heard the news yet - State revenues came in above the forecasts for the first time in 17 months. In March, the state collected $908 million in taxes, up $7 million from March 2009. The collections were $2 million above the budget forecast and $48 million above the revised forecast, issued in December 2009. According to the Indianapolis Star, State Budget Director Chris Ruhl said, "I think a positive first step is getting back on target and projections." However, he has cautioned that it is too early to say the worst is over, so we must continue be prudent in our spending. According to the Star, " 'One month of reversing a trend is not enough to say we're going to start the spending spree again in Indiana,' Ruhl said. 'The goal remains the same: Spend within our means, protect Hoosier taxpayers, and maintain the size and scope of government within an affordable means.' "

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On-time property tax bills in Porter County

Along with on-time property tax bills this year is -

Porter County’s new and enhanced website at or go to and click on Tax Information. Read the General Information and learn about the site and the icons in the tutorial it will help a lot. Then click on Go To Public Access Tax Information Site You will be searching the county for any desired tax information or finding and paying your tax bill in no time at all.

You can find a record by Owner Name, Parcel Number, Address or Duplicate Number. Once you find your record you can view the Property Summary, Bill Details, Tax Summary for the last two years, Other Charges, Deductions and Receipts. The icons to the top right let you zoom in or out, pan, extend your search right or left, full extend, query properties around you and clear the map. Icons at the bottom allow you to pay by credit card, E-Check from you checking or savings account, print your bill, 3 year comparison or both and for the generally curious or commercial user the property record card.

This took place because of some real ingenuity, years of networking experience and the collaborative mindset, of Porter County’s Director of Information Technology, Sharon Lippens, who played the pivotal role in making this website happen and getting it at an affordable price for the citizens of porter County.

The program was acquired through the generosity of Allen County’s IT Department. The Programming and Consulting Firm of, ATOS, which performed the same work for Allen County, did the interfacing.

I know this website will cause Pat Pullara Chief Operating Officer/Government Affairs of GNIAR to jump for joy when I email her to broadcast the message to her membership that our website has arrived. GNIAR is instrumental in providing the county with valuable assessing information necessary for the County Assessor to do his work. This Website will go public Monday, April 5. It is a FREE service to all users with out limitations says, Lippens.

It is the culmination of effort from the Auditor Jim Kopp’s GIS Dept., Assessors John Scott’s Records Dept. and the Treasurer’s Office that brought the creation, integration, and payment services of the website to Porter County in a remarkable 30 working days. In the beginning some thought it couldn’t be done but, Porter County has an on-time tax bill and an on-time website.

"The project might be the Treasurer’s website but it’s the peoples tool where taxpayers, realtors, escrow companies, bankers, and title companies can access county tax records from anywhere in the world. It is a FREE service to all users with out limitations." Mike Bucko, Porter County Treasurer.

On behalf of all the taxing departments, “ We can’t promise to make paying taxes enjoyable but we can promise to work hard and together to make it easier”

Mike Bucko
Porter County Treasurer