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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

No objections during DLGF budget hearing

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Residents decided to pass on the opportunity to raise questions about tax rates at the Department of Local Government Finance's (DLGF) budget hearings.

Approximately 10 people, including Clay Community Schools Superintendent Dan Schroeder, attended Monday's hearing, however, all as observers.

"I know it is not a fun time to work on budgets," Schroeder said. "With so many laws constantly changing, it makes it a difficult job."

DLGF Field Representative Vikki Huntworth headed the hearing, which is typically held in the fall.

"This year we decided to have the hearings after each county has their respective budgets done," she said.

She also said a major factor which has held up property tax billing in recent years is that counties have been slower in turning in their assessed values which extends the process of certifying budgets and tax rates.

"Clay County is one of the few which has turned everything in so far, which is why I am here today," Huntworth said. "There are many counties where we have yet to schedule a budget hearing because we don't have their information yet."

Another hitch in the process this year has been the vagueness of House Bill 1001.

"The DLGF hasn't received any memos or anything about how to work with it, so we are in the dark as well," Huntworth said. "Plus, there could be more changes to it in the future and we may not see the actual ramifications until two or three years down the road."

One concern raised during the hearing regarded the schools and the remonstrance process currently in the works.

Huntworth explained that since signatures are still being certified on the remonstrance, it will have no effect on this year's budget, and what it will be in the future will depend on what project, if any, is approved.

With no objections or changes to make, the county should be able receive its budget order in the next few weeks.

"Clay County is complicated to finish because there are many areas that cross over into other counties, like the school corporation into Parke County and the Poland Fire district that is also part of Owen County," Huntworth said. "But even with that, it shouldn't be more than a few weeks to have everything in order."

Once the county received its budget order and tax rates, they must be advertised three times, one week apart, before property tax bills can be sent out.

"While we are advertising, we are also printing up the bills so we can send them out the first day we can," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said.

Schroeder praised county officials for helping the county be one of the first to have its budget and assessed values turned in.

"I am very appreciative that we are one of the first to have a certified budget," he said. "All of the county officials who worked on it deserve a pat on the back."

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