Elkhart County Sends Tax Bills

In Elkhart County, the mystery is over, and the controversy has just begun.

Elkhart County is the latest to mail its 2007 property tax bills.

The bills show an average tax increase of about 25-percent according to estimates provided by Ind. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who represents much of the county in the Indiana Legislature.

“I think we’re facing a crisis in Elkhart County and in much of the state of Indiana,” Walorski said Monday.

She called upon legislative leaders to pave the way for a complete overhaul of the tax system.

Among the many reasons Walorski cited, was one that was very high on symbolism. When Elkhart County mailed its tax bills late last week, it also posted an armed guard outside the tax payment window.

“We consider this a crisis, we need help,” Walorski said.

Richard Horner received a tax bill for his Elkhart County home last week. Horner says his taxes went up about 36-percent.

“These kinds of tax increases are just unbearable for many people,” he said.

The arrival of the tax bills in Elkhart County also sent shock waves across the county line.

Elizabeth Ebbole owns the Perkins restaurant in Roseland, in St. Joseph County.

“They’re killing us,” she said.

The assessed value on the Perkins building increased from $484,000 to $1.3 million, according the Ebbole.

She worries about the consequences, should her tax bill increase at the same pace.

“We can’t do this, that’s 80 to 100 jobs that won’t be there if we have to close,” said Ebbole.

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