Jim Buck

State Sen. Jim Buck

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would have eliminated the positions of 13 township assessors died in committee Thursday at the Indiana Statehouse when state Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, tabled it following testimony.

Buck, the chair of the Local Government Committee, said he didn’t table the bill earlier because he wanted to give people a chance to testify. Ultimately, Buck said, he opposed the bill.

“I do not like the Legislature, in this case, being the executor of the offices that people chose to keep,” Buck said.

Voters chose through a referendum in 2008 to keep township assessors in 13 of the state’s 1,008 townships. The bill passed the House 53-44 after an amendment giving voters another referendum failed.

Tax assessment for all other townships in Indiana is handled through county government.

Christopher Dickinson, the Concord Township assessor in Elkhart County, said that the 13 townships collectively represent 750,000 residents and billions in taxable property.

Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, noted that many of the townships are in Lake County, where his district is located.

“These are the biggest townships in the state of Indiana,” Niemeyer said, noting that no county assessors spoke on the bill. “The county does not have the ability to look at this at the level that these township assessors can look at.”

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