Elkhart County losses to tax caps will be about as big as forecast
Posted: 04/09/2013 at 5:27 pm
By: Tim Vandenack
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Jazz Festival patrons and musicians walk along Main Street at the Franklin Street intersection Saturday, June 23, 2012. Elkhart's Streetscape project that stretches along Main Street from Jackson Boulevard south to the post office is complete and the city officials hope jazz festival patrons and other visitors notice the improvements. ¬ (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) ¬
Pedestrians walk through downtown Goshen at the start of the I Love Goshen Bicycle Criterium Friday, May 4, 2012. The races were the featured event at this month's First Friday, but food, and spending time with family and friends is always in store for visitors during First Friday. ¬ (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬
The loss this year in property tax revenue to some of the largest taxing units in Elkhart County — a point of concern for many — will be about as big as anticipated in an earlier set of estimates.
Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, Elkhart County leaders and officials at the largest school districts here have all expressed concern about the loss of revenue due to property tax caps. Less property tax funds raises the specter of budget cuts or other measures to offset the losses, and the officials say they're wrestling with how to deal with the dip in money.
At least the losses for 2013 won't be much different than a previous set of estimates circulated around the county, though. According to official figures supplied Tuesday April 9 by the Elkhart County Auditor's Office, the losses are on par with estimates compiled by accounting firm Umbaugh & Associates.
Umbaugh estimated the collective loss for 2013 due to tax caps to Elkhart County government, the seven towns and cities here, the seven school districts, the six library systems and the 16 townships would be $37.33 million. The actual figure, according to the auditor's office numbers, will be $38.61 million.
Here's a look at how the biggest taxing units will be impacted, per the new numbers:
• The city of Elkhart will lose $10.69 million to tax caps, a bit less than Umbaugh's estimate of $10.71 million.
• Elkhart Community Schools will lose $5.62 million, less than Umbaugh's $6.27 million estimate.
• Elkhart County will lose $4.37 million, close to Umbaugh's $4.56 million estimate.
• Goshen will lose $3.79 million compared to Umbaugh's $3.75 million estimate.
• Concord schools will lose $4.24 million compared to Umbaugh's $3.66 million estimate.
• Goshen schools will lose $3.42 million, less than the earlier $3.77 million estimate.
State lawmakers approved legislation implementing the property tax caps in 2008. The aim was to save homeowners and other property owners money and prod local government into cutting spending. The result, according to a review of the data, has been as hoped for by tax cap proponents, at least here in Elkhart County.
A review of the data in a recent Elkhart Truth report shows that the cities, schools, libraries and townships are getting by with less property tax revenue while losses to tax caps have gone up.