Tribune staff reports
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance certified Jackson County’s 2016 budget order and tax rates on Friday, paving the way for on-time property tax bills.
The budget certification puts the county in a position to have taxes due May 10, according to a news release from the department.
Jackson County Auditor Kathy Hohenstreiter said tax bills have gone out on time annually since 2009, pay 2010, and when they don’t, there are problems for local governing units.
That year, there was only one property tax installment mailed to property owners, instead of one in the spring and one in the fall. That meant property tax revenue wasn’t available for local governing units until much later than normal that year.
Hohenstreiter said when the revenue doesn’t come in at the expected time, governing units have to operate in the red.
“They depend upon the money for operations,” she said.
Courtney L. Schaafsma, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance agreed.
“The certification of the budget order allows local governments to better plan for their operations for 2016 based on the approved budget and anticipated revenue figures,” she said. “In addition, the certification of the budget order and tax rates sets the stage nicely for on-time property tax bills, which is important for the predictable administration of the property tax system.”
The first step in the assessment to tax billing process is the completion of the property assessments, which culminates with the submission of a ratio study.
A ratio study is a comparison between property sales prices and assessed values in the county to ensure that market values are being used to determine assessed values.
Typically, these should be submitted to the state and approved by May 31, the year prior to tax billing. Jackson County’s ratio study was submitted May 13.
Once the DLGF approves the ratio study, the assessor sends the gross assessed values to the county auditor, who applies exemptions, deductions, or abatements to determine the net assessed values — the values upon which tax rates are based.
Now that the 2016 budget has been certified by the state, the next steps are handled at the county level.
Hohenstreiter’s office has begun the process of preparing the rates for the required three publications and calculating tax bills, which will then go to the treasurer to be mailed to taxpayers no later than April 19.
Seymour Community Schools had the largest general fund budget in the county at $30,927,148, compared to $28,183,155 in 2015, followed by the city of Seymour at $12,517.706, up from $12,098,653, this past year.
Brownstown Central Community School Corp. had the third highest approved general fund budget at $10,512,154, up from $10,306,983, followed by the county government’s general fund budget of $9,174,564, up from $8,823,080.
Crothersville Community Schools completed the top five at $3,610,812, down from $4,040,812 in 2015.
A copy of the Jackson County budget is available at http://in.gov/dlgf/2587.htm?WT.cg_n=reportslinks&WT.cg_s=jacksoncounty.
Grassy Fork Township;1.4809;1.5324
Seymour City-Jackson Township;2.5387;2.5679
Seymour City-Redding Township;2.5345;2.5634
Salt Creek Towship;1.5865;1.5938