A TALE OF THREE HOUSES
How Carmel compares property taxes is lesson in real-life government By Margie Thomas For Current in Carmel
It’s not Déjà vu. You have seen the three houses shown elsewhere on this page. In fact, these three homes are the key to Carmel’s demonstration to taxpayers that they are paying less than their neighbors. The idea behind the homes and a yearly tracking of assessed values and property taxes in the surrounding communities was hatched by Mayor Jim Brainard in 1997. “I wanted to bring the property tax issue down to a simple comparison that everyone would be able to understand,” he said. “Most people have heard me say that Carmel has the lowest property tax rate in the state of any city its size or larger, but it makes a lot of sense to see three similar houses coupled with their respective community’s tax bills to make a comparison.” The houses were selected after looking at pictures of homes in real estate books and conferring with home builders to find similar styles, square footage and features. The Carmel home, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, two-story structure with an attached garage looks almost exactly like the homes picked from Noblesville and Fishers. In 1998, the assessed value of the homes ranged from $101,910 for the Noblesville home to $104,910 for the Fishers home. However,
13447 Dunes Drive Parcel# 16-09-26-00-04-027.000 82% Assessed Value Increase Total 1998 Assessed Value $104,220 Total 2009 Assessed Value $190,200 Net Property Taxes – 1988: $2,124 Net Property Taxes – 2008: $1,654 Net Property Taxes – 2009: $1,481
6348 Creekview Lane Parcel# 15-14-10-02-03-066.000 81% Assessed Value Increase Total 1998 Assessed Value $104,910 Total 2009 Assessed Value $190,000 Net Property Taxes – 1988: $2,555 Net Property Taxes – 2008: $1,777 Net Property Taxes – 2009: $1,645
17948 Village Way Parcel# 11-06-33-00-05-003.000 71% Assessed Value Increase Total 1998 Assessed Value $101,910 Total 2009 Assessed Value $174,700 Net Property Taxes – 1988: $2,427 Net Property Taxes – 2008: $1,987 Net Property Taxes – 2009: $1,883
Data from Official Public Information available on County Treasurer website: www.co.hamilton.in.us. Chart elements from cities’ publications.
over the past decade, assessed values have increased dramatically, 82 percent in Carmel, jumping from $104,220 in 1998 to $190,200 in 2009.
Our lower taxes edge out Fishers and Noblesville
“We wanted taxpayers to see the bottom line as it relates to property taxes,” Brainard said. “That’s why we started in 1998 to track the net property tax bill including all the items that are paid for out of residential property taxes. We saw that the Carmel
house was consistently the lowest tax bill of the three, and in 2009, it was significantly lower.” Carmel’s example was $1,481 compared with the Noblesville home at $1,883, a difference of 21 percent. Brainard also said residential property taxes do not pay for improvements in the downtown area, such as the Performing Arts Center, which is funded by the new businesses who have chosen to locate or expand in the area because of the city’s initiative. “Even though property values have
increased consistently in Carmel over the past decade, changes in state laws have allowed us to keep our taxes lower than our neighbors,” Brainard said. “This year has been especially complicated and hard to explain since the tax rate for the city has gone up, but because of changes in the state deduction, residential property taxes have actually gone down.” What’s next: How the city of Carmel manages growth without growing its budget. (July 7 in Current in Carmel.)
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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