* Tax bills should be on time
In one situation, having no comment is a good thing.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) conducted a public hearing regarding proposed budgets, levies and tax rates for all of Clay County's taxing units.
While representatives from the Clay Community School Corporation, Brazil Public Library and towns of Harmony and Knightsville were on hand, no taxpayers attended the hearing to voice objections.
"This was the public's chance to voice their opinions, ask questions and raise objections to a taxing unit's budget or proposed tax rate," DLGF Assessment Division Assessor/Auditor Julie Waddell -- who conducted the hearing -- told The Brazil Times.
With no objections, Waddell closed the hearing shortly after it began.
However, with no questions being raised, it makes the process of certifying budget orders and tax rates much quicker.
Although Waddell and Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh initially estimated it would be 3-5 weeks before certified budgets and rates would be approved, DLGF Director of Communications Mary Jane Michalak said it could be approved as early as today or Friday.
"With no objections during the hearing, we will make one more run through everything to double check and make sure it is all correct," Michalak told The Brazil Times Wednesday. "Right now, everything appears to good to go as is and it all should be approved in the next day or two."
She added the majority of Indiana's 92 counties are well ahead of schedule, and Clay County is one of many which should be able to return to the normal property tax payment schedule. The typical installment schedule is May 10 and Nov. 10 each year, and if this occurs, it would be the first time since the 2005 pay 06 billing.
"Last year, only two counties were able to bill on time, and at this point, there were no certified budget orders," Michalak said. "In comparison, we are much further ahead of schedule this year as we are preparing to certify tax rates and budgets for our 40th county (Wednesday)."
Trending and reassessment had created delays in property tax billing in recent years, but Michalak attributed the return to normalcy to the dedication of all involved.
"When (DLGF Commissioner Tim) Rushenberg took over in 2008, Governor Mitch Daniels urged him to get tax billing back on schedule, and the commissioner esteemed that 2010 needed to be the 'Year of No Excuses,'" she said.
The news budgets and tax rates could be certified so quickly came as a pleasant surprise to Alumbaugh, who told The Brazil Times it allows the county extra time to make sure everything is set up correctly.
"Along with the comparison statement and the bill itself, we will also be including a Homestead Deduction Certification form, which is necessary to maintain an active status on a homestead deduction if residents currently have one," she said. "It gives the Treasurer's Office a little extra time to make sure everything is included in the mailings."
However, while the rates may be in place by the end of the week, the Auditor's Office will still have to prepare an abstract to send off for approval by the State Auditor's Office before the preparation of tax bills may begin. To meet the May 10, 2010 due date for the first property tax installment, bills must be mailed out by April 23, which Alumbaugh said should be no problem.
"We've gotten things back on track and with sufficient time to prepare tax statements, we should be able to get things done in a very timely manner," she said.