County discloses tax rates, hears about upcoming bills


Ohio County Assessor Ed Hautman reported that 173 forms are going out this week to those businesses with under $20,000 acquisition cost are eligible for an exemption under a new state law.

However, Hautman recommended and council agreed not to make a new tax ordinance. The amount the county would raise is just over $4000, according to Hautman.

Hautman explained it is a form that most people have completed. Everyone must fill out the form each year. If they fail to fill out then they would be subject to a $25 fine.

Those people eligible will be getting the form in the mail this week and must have it notarized and returned by May. “They can’t get around it. They must fill out the form, Hautman told council at its Monday, January 25 meeting. There are 92 counties and 92 different ways the issue will be addressed.

Forms sent out will include 102, 103 and 103 long.

Councilman Jeff Iceberg suggested that county trustees to notified as they help out many people with the forms.

Hautman emphasized the forms must be notarized and the auditor’s office can do that.

New tax rates

Hautman was asked about tax rates. He said a lot went into taxes including reassessment and a riverboat tax appeal in which the county made a good settlement.

He explained the assessed value has nothing to do with tax rate. He added that as the city, county and school say how much they need affects the tax rate.

“Only two things can happen. Either spend less and taxes go down or spend more and taxes go up,” he told council.

Council president Tammy Elbright, reappointed at the beginning of the meeting, said the county has known this day was coming and has taken it into consideration at budget time each year.

Vice-president Dill Dorrell noted that tax rates increased but county portion of taxes went down.

The new tax rate posted at the Ohio County Courthouse was received on January 16 according to auditor Deb Cappel. The following rates are per $100 assessed value:

*1.48260 Randolph

*1.48380 union

*1.49220 Cass

*1.50660 pike

*2.03540 city

Hautman noted that 80 percent of the tax increase is due to the school levy.

Appointments and legislation

The council retained Lane Siekman as council after presentations by him and attorney Matt Hocker.

Mary Dorrell was named to replace Donald Kittle on the assessor board. She will join Ken McIntosh and P.G. Gentrup.

The board’s purpose is for those don’t agree with the assessor’s decision.

Councilmen Mark Guard was appointed to the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District and Ron Spurlock to SIRPC (Southeastern Indiana Regional Plan Commission).

Guard asked council to fight SB 88 which would do away with funding to the district. It would mean the free service would mean user fees and that many satellite offices could close by the end of 2018. That would result in problems getting rid of tires and other materials.

The state started the program in 1992 now they want to take it away, noted Guard.

Several council members and commissioners praised Aaron Bell, the district’s director for his work. Guard noted that the money raised from recycling has dropped from $90,000 down to $30,000.

French area resident Bernie Huff expressed concerns over chip and seal work done on Holmes Hill Road. He said, “it’s been a mess ever since it was redone.”

Commissioner Shane Koons told Huff that plans are to pave the road this spring.

Commissioner Todd Walton added the commissioners and highway superintendent Ron York have been aware of the situation.

Lobbyist Jon Bond was retained by council for keeping them informed to legislation in Indianapolis.

He gave a briefing of legislative session and bills which must get out of house and senate committees by Wednesday. The biggest focus has been on road funding and the school ISTEP+.

The House of Representative bill focuses on a plan by Governor Mike Pence.

A Senate bill involves LOIT (Local Option Income Tax) reserves. The county would be given money early (approximately $120,000 for Ohio County) with 75 percent targeted to roads.

There has been discussion about a wheel tax which rural counties are against (Ohio County doesn’t currently have a wheel tax).

Other bills highlighted included Gaming (dealing with fantasy sports) and meth bills with some wanting pseudofed available by prescription only (to combat drug problem statewide).

Good news reported about Rising Star Casino with admissions up over 2014. They continue to falling but not as fast, Bond added.

Fourth quarter distributions

Council approved its fourth quarter riverboat sharing distributions to local entities and other cities, counties and towns.

The Disbursements include:

Local Entity

Port Authority $469.79

Park Board $20,000

Bear Branch Fire $704.65

Rising Sun Fire $704.65

Life Squad $1,879.10

School Endowment $12,527.28

OC Comm. Foundation $21,361.48

Total $57,646.95

Counties, Cities and Towns

Ripley $16,175.93

Aurora $5,776,43

Milan $5,291,24

Sunman $2,345.74

Holton $1,185.76

Osgood $4,863.34

Napoleon $693.70

Versailles $5,198.44

Total $41,530.58

Other business

Elbright noted a report from sheriff Glen Potts shows a savings of $56,828 in housing of prisoners since an agreement was made with Switzerland County.

Potts, who has continued to keep spending down, expressed concern about two vehicles with $160 to 180,000 miles. One is broke down in Plainfield while he has a prisoner that needs picked up in Oklahoma.

Council approved an additional of $50,000 for salaries and $150,000 for 911 equipment. A state formula has made funds available from the LOIT approved last year. The county has received $24,145.59 and will get a total of $289,747.80 for the year which can only be used for 911.

The county has a 40,000 grant and other $40,000 grant is expected along with $25,000 that has been committed by the city of Rising Sun.

An additional of $500 was approved for assessor equipment.

Janet Bowman was approved as part time custodian at the courthouse and Connie Althoff at the extensions.

Several corrections to salary ordinance were approved but the gross amount remained the same. Most changes involved the frequency of payments such as monthly to quarterly.

The commissioners made a resolution approving the use of the Odyssey Case Management court system which will take about a year to implement.

Cliff Thies has been approved as the official Ohio County Historian.

Thies, who serves as coroner, will now have an office in the health department. Connie Lamkin was approved as his deputy.

Commissioners discussed concerns by residents of the library being closed for bad weather when the school is dismissed. That decision was made by the library board and not under the control of the commissioners.

Todd Walton reported he was told that’s always been the policy.