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A meeting was held at the White County Building, on May 15, 2008, beginning at 8:00 a.m. discussing HEA 1001.

 

Members of the meeting present: Todd Samuelson, Consultant with Umbaugh & Associates, Councilman Buzz Horton, Councilman Gary Hendryx, Councilman Dennis Carter, Councilman Butch Kramer, Councilman Dennis Cain, Councilman Bruce Clear, Commissioner John Heimlich and Commissioners Assistant Donya Tirpak.

 

Todd Samuelson said that he is here today to answer any questions or concerns that White County may have on what HEA 1001 may or may not do to White County.

 

Council President Horton said that they, County Council, have a number of things to discuss because this bill wasn’t well defined. Councilman Horton said, “I don’t think we have, in our own minds, exactly what we want.” He said that they have not attended any conferences in Indianapolis but they have reviewed the Larry DeBoer presentation and they understand that the county is going to be impacted by HEA 1001.

 

At the time of the presentation watched by the Council, Mr. Horton said that Mr. Larry DeBoer had mentioned that the need for consultants will grow because of HEA 1001. Mr. Horton said that the Council knows that they need help and numbers are going to be hard to come by at budget time this year. Mr. Horton said, “We just don’t know the extent of the help we need.”

 

Mr. Samuelson spoke a little bit about HB 1001, what they’re seeing, and how they are dealing with it.

 

Mr. Samuelson presented information summarizing areas of HEA 1001 from circuit breaker, LOIT (Local Option Income Taxes), the referendum process, the issue with Assessors, and how the changes are going to impact, cities, towns, and schools. Mr. Samuelson said that HEA 1001 is 800 to 900 pages of law that was implemented. It is clearly the most sweeping change in property tax law since the early 1970’s.

 

Mr. Samuelson said that the circuit breaker (property tax cap) is one area that is going to impact White County. He said that legislative services have prepared an estimate of what the impact from the circuit breaker will be for all of the units of government in the State. Mr. Samuelson believes that White County, in total the number, will be around $250,000 and the county itself (talking 2010) is in the $50,000 range.

 

Mr. Samuelson said that a lot of assumptions have been used by the State to come up with this number. He said that these assumptions are not specific to White County or any other governmental unit. These assumptions are state wide ~ in terms of what is going to be the growth of the tax base, what is going to be the growth in tax levy’s for all units going forward, etc.

 

 

 

As a consultant, Mr. Samuelson said that they have found that the impacts in HEA 1001 cannot be estimated effectively unless you approach it parcel by parcel. This is something that is going to be extremely difficult for an Auditor’s office to provide this information that the County Council will need by budget time.

 

He explained that the Auditor’s office would have to take the assumptions and run tax bills in order to determine how many credits may be accumulated and how many of those credits will be implacable to us as a county unit or to Monticello or even the school corporations.

 

As a firm, Mr. Samuelson said that they, Umbaugh and Associates, feel that they need to develop a software program. They will develop a program that takes the data base from every parcel that is available thru the Auditor’s/ Assessor’s office and determine what classification they are in, what their gross assessed value is and all of their deductions. They will need to know exactly what each parcel’s taxable value is.

 

Mr. Samuelson said that they will take this data and put it into a template. He said that this is something that they have not utilized yet, but they are in the process of utilizing it on one of the major cities in the state to actually do this type of study. He said that he is not aware of anyone that has run it parcel by parcel. This template that they are working on has to be very powerful and very flexible for counties like White County.

 

Councilman Denny Cain commented how time consuming this will be. Mr. Samuelson said that there really isn’t any other way to do it. He said that a lot of the time and also the biggest challenge will be spent trying to figuring out the county’s system that is currently being used. Trying to figure out how our information will be manipulated to work with their template. The other challenge will be the data that will be changing on a daily basis, like transfers.

 

Mr. Samuelson explained the importance of the county having cooperation and communication with all government entities county wide. He said that everyone (cities, towns and school corporations) need to participate and provide information to each other. He discussed an agreement that could be made with the other cities, towns, and school corporations for the services that the county will provide which will help fund the project. He said that if they would run circuit breaker analysis for White County ~ by definition all the other units in the county will have circuit breaker analysis run as well. He said that we can’t do one unit of government by itself.

 

Umbaugh & Associates are estimating that the cost of running this type of program will be in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Mr. Samuelson said that the cost to develop what they need is a cost of doing business. The cost of working with White County is going to be largely dependent on the data base that’s available and how readily it’s available.

 

Mr. Samuelson said that with this template they need to be very flexible ~ meaning if White County is going to consider the LOIT’s, A-B-C or even one, two, or three of them, this will have to be part of the analysis. This software will have the ability to change the variables based on what income taxes are available. This is something that should not take a lot of time.

 

 

 

Commissioner Burton asked, “If you’re going to know the towns and the county will the software have the ability to do a portion of the county ~ say the lakes area.” Mr. Samuelson said that they would have to run the county and then extract out the lake parcels. He said that we can’t run it for those entities alone but they could tag those particular parcels and print those out separately. He said that once the data is accumulated then they will be able to manipulate it to do what we need.

 

Councilman Horton said that their biggest concern now is with the delayed tax draws. He said that it is difficult trying to keep track of the cash flow. Before, they were able to look at the General Fund at the beginning of the year and that would tell them how much they were over spending. In the past, this was the simple way of doing things but now they don’t have that because of the changes in the assessment process. He said that the council has expressed an interest in having a cash flow analysis as well.

 

Councilman Kramer said that the information that they are given on a monthly basis is not providing them with what the cash flow is. They are only given a report that shows what the balances are. He said that they honestly need something that is showing where their money is going, where the balances are “on” or “off” so they know where they are headed. He said that they feel that the Auditor’s office has the software of what they need but they just don’t know how to implement it. They have had a mess with this tax storm and they just haven’t had time to see what it can do.

 

Councilman Horton said that when he, Mr. Samuelson, mentioned pulling all government units together to share the cost of doing this, he feels that it would be a terrible complex problem to try to get money from the other units. He personally feels that this is a county wide problem and a county wide bill. He said that if time is of the essence, then the county needs to worry about paying the bill.

 

Commissioner Heimlich agreed that it is probably unrealistic that we are going to get contributions from towns, townships, and libraries when they haven’t even received their draws and they are living day by day already.

 

Councilman Carter asked if they could be able to get final numbers for White County since we have school corporations that are in other counties and using other county funds. Mr. Samuelson said that they realize this and it won’t be an issue.

 

Mr. Samuelson said that the proposal will be written with an hourly rate and also with caps on some of the other stuff the county is wanting. This way if the county is feeling that it is getting out of control, then everything can be stopped. He said that if this could all be done for $10,000 then that would be great, but he doesn’t want to mislead the county in thinking that this is a simple task, because it won’t be.

 

 

 

As far as a time frame, Mr. Samuelson said that depending on the availability of the data, they think that 4 to 6 weeks is a reasonable time for them.

 

At this time, Councilman Horton asked the other members what their thoughts were.

 

Councilman Clear said that they really have no idea of what’s going on and he feels that they were wise putting off doing anything with LOIT, but he feels that they do need help. He said that they can’t make any wise decisions looking at our income and disbursements because of the delayed tax money coming in. If this will help the council with the cash flow information then this will better prepare them on the direction of the LOIT.

 

Councilman Kramer agreed with Mr. Horton that if their going to do something then the county will have to take the lead first because we can’t sit and wait on everyone else.

 

Councilman Horton said that no decisions can be made today.

 

Councilman Carter said that even though no decisions can be made today, we do need to have this done.

 

Councilman Cain said that he is really afraid that the county is outspending their growth and they need some help.

 

Councilman Kramer asked if they could make the decision at their next board meeting.

 

Councilman Horton asked Commissioner Heimlich and Commissioner Burton how they felt about all of this.

 

Commissioner Burton said that he feels that the council is being wise identifying that there is a lack of information.

 

Councilman Horton asked Mr. Samuelson to write a proposal up and get it to them before the meeting on Monday, May 19th.