Sunday, October 26, 2014

Elkhart County losses to tax caps will be about as forecast

The expected bite from tax caps for 2013 for Elkhart County, Elkhart, Goshen and the larger school districts here is about what expected, according to the recently released official figures.
Posted on April 9, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 10, 2013 at 6:13 a.m.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to correct the 2013 loss due to tax caps for Concord Community Schools. An incorrect figure was used initially due to a reporter’s error. The Truth regrets the error.

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:

Ÿ The city of Elkhart will lose $10.69 million to tax caps, a bit less than Umbaugh's estimate of $10.71 million.

Ÿ Elkhart Community Schools will lose $5.62 million, less than Umbaugh's $6.27 million estimate.

Ÿ Elkhart County will lose $4.37 million, close to Umbaugh's $4.56 million estimate.

Ÿ Goshen will lose $3.79 million compared to Umbaugh's $3.75 million estimate.

Ÿ Concord schools will lose $4.24 million compared to Umbaugh's $3.66 million estimate.

Ÿ 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.

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