Last month, the Clay County Council appropriated $500,000 for Assessor C.R. Boyd to complete an audit of the county's residential land. Tuesday, County Commissioners denied a bid from Indiana Assessment Services for that same audit, undermining the council's decision.
The proposed bid -- which would have cost the county $442,510 -- would hire Indiana Assessment Services to gather data on land for Property Tax purposes. Boyd, who had already been through several weeks of debate and discussion with the council, said the sooner the Commissioners passed the contract, the better.
"(Indiana Assessment Services has) been very complete and professional with the way they do their business," he said, referring to past work he has done with the company. "I wouldn't have asked for that money if I didn't think it was necessary."
Boyd also said he believed the audit's findings would bring an increase in tax revenue to the county. The commissioners disagreed, however, claiming that it would only bring a shift in the county's tax burden -- assuming the audit reported an increase in residential property value.
Board President David Parr expressed concern over the expenditure, stating that a new reassessment could begin in 2007, leaving the county to basically redo the audit.
Boyd disagreed, claiming that, among other factors, countywide zoning and a new taxation method would render a reassessment obsolete. Additionally, the assessor said, by gathering accurate numbers now, a physical reassessment would be unnecessary in 2007.
"I hope to never have to do another audit," he said.
Later in the meeting, Commissioner Daryl Andrews took Parr's stance.
"I'm opposed to the principle of spending $500,000 on something when we may have to spend it again," he said.
Andrews then moved to reject the bid and reconsider the audit per guidelines set forth by Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance.
Parr asked him to briefly rescind the motion while the Commissioners reviewed the proposed contract. Andrews agreed on the grounds that a motion be passed during the meeting.
"I don't want to fight this next month," he said. "I want to handle it today."
Before he could rescind it, however, Commissioner Buddy Knox seconded the motion. Parr made it unanimous, rejecting the bid.
"I hate spending $500,000 on something we may have to do again in the next couple of years," Parr said.