Budget order, tax rates approved

Saturday, February 5, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) certified Putnam County's 2011 budget order and tax rates on Jan. 28, paving the way for on-time property tax bills for the second year in a row.

The budget certification puts the county in a position to have taxes due on May 10. Putnam County was the 66th county in the state to receive its 2011 budget order and tax rates.

"The certification of the budget order and tax rates sets the stage nicely for on-time tax bills for the second consecutive year, returning predictability to the property tax system," DLGF commissioner Brian Bailey said. "A tremendous amount of cooperation and collaboration between local and state officials is required to ensure property tax bills go out on time, and it is rewarding to see all the efforts pay off."

The first step in the assessment to tax billing process is the completion of the property assessments, which culminates with the submission of a ratio study.

A ratio study is a comparison between property sales prices and assessed values in the county to ensure that market values are being used to determine assessed values. Typically, these should be submitted to the state and approved by May 31, the year prior to tax billing. Putnam County's ratio study was submitted on July 6.

Once the DLGF approves the ratio study, the assessor sends the gross assessed values to the county auditor, who applies exemptions, deductions or abatements to determine the net assessed values -- the values upon which tax rates are based.

That information was statutorily due to the DLGF by Aug. 2. Putnam County's certified net assessed values were submitted on Nov. 1.

Now that the 2011 budget has been certified by the DLGF, the next steps are handled at the county level. The county auditor is to calculate tax bills, which should then be mailed by the county treasurer no later than April 25.

Taxpayers interested in estimating their property tax bill may do so using the DLGF's online property tax calculator at www.in.gov/dlgf/4932.htm.

Taxpayers will need their property's assessed value, deductions and taxing district to use the tool.

The estimates provided are projections only and should not be taken as a statement of true tax liability, which is determined by the county.

A copy of the Putnam County budget is available at www.in.gov/dlgf/2556.htm.

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