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State approves Marion County reassessment

March 26, 2008
The state of Indiana is satisfied with the results of Marion County's property reassessment.

This morning, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance approved the new assessment of local residential, commercial and industrial property values via a letter to Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes. IBJ obtained a copy through a public records request.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, ordered the reassessment last year at the height of Indiana's property tax crisis. He said Marion County's nine township assessors historically have done a poor job gauging the market value of commercial and industrial properties, leading their owners to pay unfairly low property taxes.

Bowes, a Democrat, supervised township assessors in their new appraisal of Marion County's homes and hired Portage, Mich.-based Manatron Inc. for $1.85 million to re-appraise businesses.

An IBJ analysis published March 17 showed that early reassessments that Bowes submitted to the Department of Local Government Finance would result in one in four Marion County business properties seeing assessments rise 100 percent or more. New assessments for individual parcels were not immediately available.

Local officials now can begin the laborious process of updating last year's property tax bills. Daniels froze the bills at 2006 levels. Homeowners and businesses must pay the difference between their frozen bills and new reconciled bills based on their new assessments.

Bowes is required to submit newly approved assessed values of every Marion County parcel to Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux, a Democrat. Breaux then will apply deductions and provide final certification of assessed values. After that, the process returns to the DLGF, which will calculate new tax rates.

To help taxpayers as they budget for their new property tax bills, the DLGF today is releasing an online tool called the County Tax Bill Estimator.

Available at www.in.gov/dlgf/countytaxbillestimator.html, it will allow Marion County residents to input assessed valuations and possible deductions to calculate an approximation of their tax bills, based on estimated tax rates.

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