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Bill To Eliminate Township Assessors Dead In Senate

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.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.