Saturday, December 15, 2007


First of all Freedom of Speech would like to thank the Kernan-Shepard Commission. The Commission reform establish "the buck stops here" attitude for local government.

We applaud Governor Daniels for establishing this bi-partisan group and encouraging them to be bold and look at the big picture of Indiana."

Our concerns are your concerns when it comes to property taxes!

We do agree with Governor Daniels on several issues and this just happens to be one of them.

Changes need to be made on our property taxes.

We also agree with several of the findings brought out in this report, and would like to share them with you our readers:

Recommendation #24:

Prohibit employees of a local government unit from serving as elected officials within the same local government unit. Allowing the employees of a unit of local government to serve as elected policymakers for that unit is an unacceptable practice for a number of reasons.

First, it is a clear conflict of interest for public employees to benefit from their actions as elected officials.

Second, it undermines the chain of command and procedures for discipline that are critical to effective public services, particularly public safety. And perhaps most important, it diminishes the faith that citizens must have that local governments act in the public interest.

Recommendation #4:

Retain a local government role for property tax assessment under a county assessor required to meet professional qualifications and appointed by the county executive.

Freedom of Speech would like to say:

First, of all the State cuts the Assessor's office budget every year, the state approved the assessments that everyone is upset over. But, the truth is the city and county assessors along with the assessment company crunch the numbers. Those numbers are then turned into the State of Indiana for them to calculate our property tax bill. If local assessments are wrong and properties are either over assessed or under assessed then that's where the problem begins.

State government can only approve property tax figures based on the information they receive from local assessor's from each of the 92 counties.

Second, the reason for the property tax increase was the STATE ORDERED trending reassessment, the severe tax rate increase and the elimination of the business inventory tax.

When new businesses are lured into New Albany by local government with promises of tax abatement's [which means they pay no property tax the first year] then the burden shifts to us homeowners.

It is a fact: every "tax abatement" OLD or NEW our council approves affects property taxes!

Source: Denny Stroud & Charlie Pride - State Board of Accounts

Third, almost all counties hire a vendor to conduct assessments, which is worked into their budget each year, because few township assessors actually do any assessing.

To add insult to injury to taxpayers. A handful of township assessors stood outside the governor's office this week to argue their jobs should not be eliminated as part of property - tax relief packages that have been proposed before the General Assembly.

Source: C/J

We should not be pointing our fingers at State Government, Governor Daniel's, business inventory tax, or the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform.

TAXPAYERS should be pointing our fingers at our LOCAL GOVERNMENT who mismanages and misappropriates our tax dollars. State Board of Accounts has NO legal power to enforce Indiana State Laws. Taxpayers should point our fingers also at our City and County Assessor's including the company doing our city and county assessments.

Sillings has stated several properties in New Albany have been under assessed for several years due to mistakes by the assessment company during re-assessment in 2003.

Source: Barbara Sillings Township Assessor

Freedom of Speech feels that each property should be assessed properly. If every home owner in New Albany actually paid their fair share of property taxes and if local government would tighten their belt, then New Albany might not be in the mess we are in.

There are too many cases of political favors being done.

Why do you think the assessor's office doesn't want to put property information on line for the public to see?

What most taxpayers don't know is that if your property has been "under assessed" the city and county assessors have the legal right to go back on the individual property owners and collect 3 years of back taxes. Penalties can also be assessed.

Source: Barbara Sillings Township Assessor

Our new mayor and council members will be sworn in Friday - December 28, 2007 at 4pm.

Mayor Elect England and City Council Members, remember the promises you are making to the taxpayers when you place your hand on the bible and take your oath of office.

Freedom of Speech feels it is time for the new administration and all council members to become "proactive" face our problems head on, hold down the spending and help lower our property tax bills.