Talks between Kokomo officials and lawyers for Chrysler corporation appear stalled on the issue of the automaker’s multi-million dollar property tax obligation to the city. It’s not that Chrysler wants to pay but doesn’t have the money, it’s that attorneys for the carmaker believe Indiana bankruptcy law absolves them from paying about $12 million in property taxes owed to the county — about half of which would go to city coffers.
“Under Indiana’s property tax laws — especially concerning bankruptcy — they [Chrysler] feel there is no obligation on their part,” Mayor Greg Goodnight said. “They’ve talked a little bit about the hardships that the company’s gone through, but I think more of it is the legal stance that there’s no obligation.”
Goodnight says he hopes to replace a canceled meeting with Chrysler representatives with face-to-face contact by the end of the week.
“We’re having discussions with them over the phone. I’m confident there will be some partial payment of those taxes,” Goodnight said. “Whether it be 50% or 60% or 40% I don’t really know. I don’t think we’re not going to not get any type of payment.”
The nearly $6 million Chrysler owed the city before declaring bankruptcy has already been factored into preliminary cost proposals from the Mayor’s office and represent more than 10% of the city’s entire budget.