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Tax rates, budgets certified

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clay County is way ahead of schedule when it comes to the property tax billing process this year.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) approved the budget orders and tax rates for Clay County late Friday evening, which is 81 days sooner than approval came in 2009.

"The entire property tax system relies on many different parts to run smoothly," DLGF Commissioner Timothy J. Rushenberg said in a press release. "Teamwork and communication among all involved in the assessment-to-tax billing process at the state and local level has brought us to a point not seen in years where property tax bills should actually be mailed and due on time."

The assessment-to-tax billing process is a long one, but county officials were on the ball this year as Clay County Assessor Mark Barnhart submitted the ratio study -- which is the first step of the process and culmination of the completion of property assessments -- to the DLGF June 8, 2009, which was 122 days sooner compared to 2008.

After the DLGF approved the ratio study on June 19, 2009, Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh and her office went to work applying exemptions, deductions and abatements to determine net assessed values, which are the values in which tax rates are based.

Alumbaugh completed the certification of the values to the DLGF Nov. 25, 2009, which was 107 days earlier compared to the 2008 pay 09 tax year.

With the DLGF certification of tax rates and budgets for each of the county's 20 taxing units, Clay County became the 43rd of the state's 92 counties to receive a 2010 Budget Order.

DLGF Director of Communications Mary Jane Michalak recently told The Brazil Times the state, as a whole, is well ahead of schedule. At this point last year, no certified budget orders had been issued, and only two counties were able to send out property tax bills on time.

The Auditor's Office still has to prepare the county abstract, which must be approved by the State Auditor's Office before information may be transferred to the Clay County Treasurer's Office for property tax bills and comparison statements to be prepared and mailed no later than April 23.

The property tax caps -- which are set at 1, 2 and 3 percent this year -- may become more of a factor in 2010 as tax rates in some of the area taxing units have increased compared to the 2008 pay 09 tax year.

Lewis Township, which had the lowest rate last year, had its rate increase the most, going from 1.4045 per $100 of a property's assessed value to 1.5992 this year, a jump of 0.1947 -- or nearly 20 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Brazil City -- Brazil Township has the second-largest increase (0.0684), followed by Brazil City -- Jackson Township, Brazil City -- Posey Township, Carbon, Center Point, Clay City and Knightsville, which had the smallest increase at 0.0098 compared to last year.

However, even with the increases, the tax rates for each of the 20 taxing units remain lower than those issued for the 2007 pay 08 tax year.

The remaining 12 taxing units in Clay County will have decreased tax rates this year, ranging from a reduction of 0.0005 (Staunton) to 0.0541 (Harmony) dollars per $100 of assessed value.

For the 2009 pay 10 tax year, Brazil City -- Brazil Township has the highest tax rate at 2.8746, while Washington Township has the lowest rate at 1.5093.

For those interested in getting a first look at what their property taxes could be before receiving their bill, the DLGF has an online property tax calculator at www.in.gov/dlgf/4932.htm. This online tool provides only an estimate and should not be viewed as a statement of true tax liability. Those utilizing the calculator will need to know their property's assessed value, deductions and taxing district to obtain a better projection.

To view a copy of the certified 2010 budget order for Clay County, visit www.in.gov/dlgf/2612.htm. The county budget for 2007, 2008 and 2009 may be viewed at this site also.

Rate comparison

The following graphic compares the Certified Gross Property Tax rates for each taxing districts in Clay County for 2009 and 2010, along with the difference:

District2009 rate2010 rateChange
Brazil Twp.1.77501.7726-(0.0024)
Brazil City -- Brazil Twp.2.80622.87460.0684
Cass Twp.1.64481.6347-(0.0101)
Dick Johnson Township1.58571.5778-(0.0079)
Harrison Township1.55001.5382-(0.0118)
Clay City2.48432.50150.0172
Jackson Township1.52251.5126-(0.0099)
Brazil City -- Jackson Twp.2.75782.82490.0671
Lewis Twp.1.40451.59920.1947
Perry Twp.1.53201.5202-(0.0118)
Posey Twp.1.55921.5492-(0.0100)
Brazil City -- Posey Twp.2.78102.84750.0665
Sugar Ridge Township1.53591.5268-(0.0091)
Center Point1.75151.77200.0205
Van Buren Township1.58971.5784-(0.0113)
Washington Township1.51891.5093-(0.0096)

Note: All rates represent the dollar amount per $100 of assessed property value.

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