Referendum puts township assessors out of work - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Referendum puts township assessors out of work

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Becky Williams, Franklin Township assessor Becky Williams, Franklin Township assessor
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Indianapolis - Marion County voters put township tax assessors out of business. They blamed them for soaring tax bills and voted "YES" to consolidate power in the county assessors office.

Eight township assessor offices, responsible for determining the tax values of roughly 375,000 homes, businesses and other properties, must be reorganized and consolidated in just seven weeks.

County assessor Greg Bowes acknowledges it will be difficult.

"I'm counting on most employees staying on with me past January first," he said.

That's when Bowes takes over, and eight township assessors are officially out of work.

"I haven't a clue right now what I am going to do or here I'm going to be," said Becky Williams. She has been Franklin Township's elected assessor for ten years.

With the county facing 20,000 tax appeals and new assessments behind schedule, she insists the county will need the townships' experienced workers.

"The county assessor is going to have the key people or staff to do Marion County assessments. There are no ifs or buts about it," she said.

Williams fought the effort to eliminate Indiana's township assessors.

Supporters claimed the change would reduce layers of government, save taxpayers money and lead to uniform property assessments across the county. Because of the huge number of assessments and unfinished assessments, Bowes doubts taxpayers will immediately save any money.

"I hope by the time we get past those two hurdles, we may be able to save $2 million on our $10 million budget," he said.

Although townships assessors lose their jobs, the law says they will keep the pay - $60,000 to $70,000 a year - for the two years left in their terms.The county assessor plans to ask the City-County Council to change that and reduce their remaining salaries.

From The Associated Press:

Voters in 43 townships were asked Tuesday whether township assessing duties should be transferred to the county level, and in all but about a dozen townships they said yes.

Hundreds of other township assessors have already lost their responsibilities. A bill passed by the General Assembly this year shifted assessment duties in 965 townships to county assessors on July 1.

In 43 larger townships, the General Assembly left it up to voters to decide their assessor's fate.

Voters in 12 townships in Allen, Elkhart, Howard, Lake, LaPorte, Porter, Vigo and Wayne counties voted against consolidation.

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