The Herald Bulletin

January 28, 2014

Editorial: County should have tax process down

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Managing a government post can’t be easy. Officeholders face the red tape of other agencies, the unending deadlines and ensuring that every action is legal with those proverbial t’s and i’s all dotted and crossed.

But one of the toughest problems for taxpayers are the hurdles they encounter from government.

And delaying property tax notices is a huge headache for residents who must plan for their payments.

But Madison County is months behind in giving critical taxing data to the state of Indiana. It could postpone approval of budgets for 2014 and setting property tax rates.

Who’s to blame? Well, it seems to be a privilege of elected officeholders to be able to point fingers at the other officials down the hall.

The auditor’s office said it needed figures on tax increment financing districts, where businesses usually get breaks on taxes. That information just came in from a private accounting firm.

The assessor’s office said assessed values for the county didn’t come in until October. And those are to go to the state. In addition, one earlier report on assessed values had 700 errors.

It all is supposed to go to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance that approves budgets. But since the data isn’t in Indianapolis, the Madison County Council can’t approve the funding requests that involve the general fund or the county option income tax fund.

Finally, the county treasurer’s office has to send tax bills before they are due on May 10.

Naturally, all this leaves courthouse workers trying to address the delay.

Mostly, it leaves taxpayers in limbo, wondering when their tax bill will arrive, and questioning why these offices — with years of preparing these records — can’t be more efficient.

In summary Taxpayers understand there are obstacles in establishing property taxes but elected officeholders should have the process worked out.