Clues to property tax mystery

The impact that the reassessment will have on St. Joseph County property tax bills remains a mystery, although some clues are beginning to surface.

County officials are seeking state approval of the information needed to calculate the bills.

The approval process recently called for a sharing of preliminary information between the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance and the locals.

“We got our tax rate for next year which is great news for our taxpayers,” said Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea. “Our tax rate actually went down; it’s lower than it was in 2005.”

The tax rates have yet to be certified, and they could change before they are certified by the state.

Along with the good news, Mishawaka also received some bad news.

Some revenues it was counting on to balance its 2007 budget will come in lower than projected. Mayor Rea says that receipts from the County Option Income Tax, and from excise receipts were some $595,000 less than projected.

That puts the city between a rock and a hard place, with little time to enact a solution. “Remember the 2007 budget runs January to December 31st, so imagine only finding out what your budget was, eight months into that budget,” said Mayor Rea.

The sharing of information means that St. Joseph County is now in the final stage of seeking the state approval needed to calculate and mail property tax bills.

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