Council looks at assessment changes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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.

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  • I say go with Tyler industries and do away with the assessors office. They have not had our property listed correctly for over 8 years and they were here a year ago. If you do not have qualified people then they need to go. I do not want a reoccurance of paying my property taxes before and after Christmas!

    Things need to change in our county offices. Why is it that homestead and mortgage credit information is not stored on a computer? When you go to check they pull out a bunch a papers and sift thru it until they find yours?

    If you call a county office seeking information its like pulling teeth, no one takes the extra step. You may have a challenging job, but guess what so do other people.

    -- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Wed, Feb 18, 2009, at 7:27 AM
  • The fairgrounds needing repairs is just the start of its problems. Our County fair has to be one of the worst planned and carried out in the state! 3 dart throwing stands 2 ball throwing stands and a very small handfull of rickety rusty rides that few want to ride. A few food stands sure,not much else. The events at the rodeo area are the only draw. sure the 4-H barn is its usual ok deal. How about putting some effort and imagination into putting on a better show? Think,"FUND RAISING" while at it. i went last yeare for the first time in forever and was reminded why I stopped going. I travel to other communities to enjoy well planned fairs.The idea of a better fair wont solve ALL money issues,it IS a start tho...

    -- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, Feb 18, 2009, at 9:37 AM
  • To sassylady,

    No one knows what goes on in the offices and how we have to answer to the state. When they say jump, we say how high, we can be almost done so tax bills can go out on time, but they change things and we have to back track. We did that three times last year. Just because we can't please everyone with what their assessments they want doesn't mean they are not right. When you have a company come here to assess your parcel, they will be working here for the dollar, not for the county. I'm working here for the people of Putnam County and if you think you haven't been treated fair, please come in to see us in the Assessor's Office. We might not be able to adjust your assessment but at least before you leave here you will understand why!

    Wanda O'Neal

    Putnam County Assessor

    -- Posted by greenjeans22 on Wed, Feb 18, 2009, at 1:13 PM
  • Mrs. O'Neal

    As I stated I am sure your job is challenging. When you do not have qualified or competent staff I am sure it makes it harder.

    A person from your office was at our place over a year ago, not by our request. When we received our reassessment it was wayyyyyyy off. We are talking buildings that do not exist anymore off.

    Now that is either incompentence or just not doing your job.

    When I came in the lady that reviewed what I was showing her, looked at the girl that had made the visit and said you were just there the girl had a look like whoops.

    The point is things need to be fixed. We all know there were two departments that did not have info that matched that is not the States fault.

    -- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Wed, Feb 18, 2009, at 2:33 PM
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