Council looks at assessment changes
County assessments are coming due in April and the county is looking at an outside corporation to take over some of the duties of the assessor's office. Two representatives from Tyler Technologies went before County Council members Tuesday regarding the situation.
County Commissioners have talked with Tyler, which handles assessments for surrounding counties such as Parke, Clay, Sullivan and Owen. County commissioner Gene Beck said that is the reason they chose to speak with Tyler.
The company provides data collection, complete reassessments and consulting on complex projects. It would mean changes at the assessor's office should the county decide to contract with an outside agency. It also means property tax deadlines would return to May and November.
The county is looking at a savings of approximately $200,000 per year over a three-year period.
"It behooves us to look into ways of saving taxpayers money," said council president Mitch Proctor.
The pair told council members their goal was not for Putnam County to sign a contract with them right now, but just to get council thinking about reassessment. State statute prevents the county from signing a contract without other bids.
A decision to use an outside agency or keep assessments "in house" must be made soon due to a looming deadline of April 16.
In addition to Tyler Technologies, fair board members Gene Grable and Al Harwood went before council asking for money to be put in the budget for the fairgrounds.
Grable and Harwood told council members they have met their budget, but that is all. Major repairs such as failing rooftops and a broken air conditioning in the community building, among other things, need to be done in the near future.
"We have simply run out of cash flow," Grable told the council.
Council member Roger Deck asked the two if there were priorities and a three- to five-year projected plan.
"Yes," was the answer.
Putnam County does not own the fairgrounds, as is the case in most other counties. This leaves it in a tough spot with council and its budget.
Proctor told the gentlemen he didn't want to give them false hope. He went on to say that personally, he didn't want to open the floodgates to all previous noes they've handed down to other non-government entities.
"I am just one person and there are six other people at this table," Proctor said.
"We are here for the county," commented Harwood. "Not for ourselves."
When asked how much money they were looking at, Grable said he would take whatever they could get.
Harwood added, the fair board has done its best to make cuts and trim corners, but it's just not enough.
In other news:
* The county highway department had asked for an additional $50,000 for salt during council's January meeting. It was given approval.
* Keith Berry, council member, nominated Ron Sutherland to the Board of Planning and Zoning. Sutherland farms near the Mount Meridian area with his family. Council gave approval.
* Putnam County Economic Development Director Bill Dory gave council members a copy of the current economic stimulus bill. Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs will be sponsoring a meeting for 9 a.m. March 2 at Area 30 Career Center regarding the stimulus bill.