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Columbus City Leaders Push For Property Tax Increase

Columbus officials say they expect taxpayers to get more credits from the state, meaning the city may be able to increase taxes and not increase tax burdens.

Columbus City Hall

Photo: Indiana Public Media News

Columbus city leaders are juggling expected tax credits with an increase in the city's property tax levy.

The city of Columbus plans to increase its nominal property tax for 2013 by 2.8 percent, but officials insist that may not mean more taxes are paid. The nominal property tax rate is the maximum state regulators are allowing local governments to raise their taxes in the part of the local tax formula called the maximum levy.

But because of property tax credits calculated at the state level and given to taxpayers, the city is not expecting any growth in the total property taxes it takes in. Columbus Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Pam Harrell says the state budget errors that occurred earlier in the year will likely make the tax credits in 2013 higher than usual, offsetting the increase from the city.

“If they truly indeed add all that together and subtract that off the levy, we may not see a growth for next year,” Harrell says.

City councilman Tim Shuffet says exactly how much residents will pay in property taxes next year also depends on what kind of tax increases the library or county requests and whether property values increase.

“I think that’s the unknown if you will,” he says. “You don’t know what their requests are going to be, then you don’t know what the property valuations are as well. So there’s a moving target there that’s really hard to get a handle on.”

Mayor Kristen Brown declined to be recorded, but says she believes the way property taxes are being calculated, along with cuts to several city expenses, will help keep the overall budget in check.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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