NewsPublic Affairs / February 14, 2020

Bill To Eliminate Township Assessors Dead In Senate

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Senate Committee Chair Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) wouldn't take a vote on a bill to eliminate township assessors. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Senate Committee Chair Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) wouldn't take a vote on a bill to eliminate township assessors.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Assessors in 13 of the state’s largest townships will keep their jobs after a bill to eliminate those positions was effectively killed off.

A Senate committee this week halted the measure in its tracks.

The General Assembly – as part of broad reform – eliminated nearly a thousand township assessors in 2008. But it let voters in the largest townships decide whether to keep theirs and 13 assessors across the state remain.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce wants to finish the job started a decade ago.

“Eliminating a layer of government, in effect, here," says Bill Waltz, who's with the Chamber. "And I think that is a meaningful step forward.”

Waltz's organization argues township assessors are unnecessary, doing a job county assessors can absorb.

But Ross Township Assessor Angela Guernsey says her county assessor – in Lake County – doesn’t want that.

“She would be taking on a workload of 150,000 additional parcels on top of the 90,000 she now has," Guernsey says. "Therefore, there would not be any cost savings.”

The remaining assessors oversee a lot of work. For instance, Calumet Township in Lake County deals with more properties than 80 of the 92 counties in Indiana.

Senate Committee Chair Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) is no fan of the bill. And he opted not to even take a vote on it.

"The chair is never to embarrass somebody that presents a bill. Now, I could take a vote and it'd do that," Buck says. "But I don't choose to do that."

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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