LaPorte County's latest property tax bills seem too good to be true--because they probably are.
Today there was a long line of taxpayers outside the treasurer’s office. Some folks were actually happy to be there. “I feel great because it’s so much lower in the property tax than it was last year,” said LaPorte resident Sheila Kolar.
In this case, looks can apparently be deceiving. “What LaPorte County has done is send out a provisional bill,” said Treasurer Ken Layton.
By law, the provisional bills can’t ask for more than half the amount a landowner paid the previous year.
“If you had a thousand dollar tax bill last year,” said Layton, “we send out tax bills for 500-dollars, minus the new homestead credit that was allowed by the state legislature this year, so your tax bill we mailed out, might be 300-dollars.”
The question is--will it stay that way?
“We were ordered by the State of Indiana to reassess,” said Layton. “We’re one of the lucky counties in Indiana. Once that reassessment is complete, we will send out our reconciliation bill.”
The reconciliation bill will either ask the taxpayer for more money, or offer a refund in the event of an overpayment.
LaPorte County was already in a different time zone than most of the rest of the state. Now its residents are in a twilight zone where tax billings are concerned.
“Oh five, pay oh six, oh six pay oh seven, oh seven pay oh eight, oh eight pay oh nine, we have a very long road to go,” said LaPorte County Commissioner Barb Huston.
Huston feels the county is in for at least four years of tax reconciliations before the situation returns to normal.
“You know we didn't get in this position overnight, so it’s going to take us a little longer than six to eight weeks to get out of this position,” said Huston. “You can't do anything but laugh anymore because it's almost comical now.”