Increased assessments affect amounts due in May, Nov.
Spring property tax bills will be arriving in mailboxes, and Wayne County officials want taxpayers to prepare themselves to contribute a little more to local infrastructure this year.
“We’ve already been warned by the state that they’re going to be higher than people expected them to be,” Auditor Mark Hoelscher said.
Treasurer Nancy Funk compares financial needs by property tax-funded entities — the county, cities and towns, townships, public schools, libraries and sanitary districts — to a pie. Real estate property assessments and tax rates provide the pie filling.
“Our pie is this big, and we’ve got to have our pie filled,” Funk said. “Assessments and rates have to fill that, and we’re not allowed to go outside our pie. They hold us to that.
“The assessments went up. The rate went down, but most bills are up.”
Wayne County’s total 2022 taxable property assessments increased 8.61% from the previous year, according to online information posted by the state’s Department of Local Government Finance. The total assessed value rose from more than $2.4 billion to more than $2.6 billion.
Gary Callahan, the Wayne Township assessor, said the biggest reason for that difference is that the state updated cost tables for the first time in several years. That raised the assessment rate per square foot. Other factors, such as a neighborhood factor that accounts for sales and other property movement in neighborhoods, are applied each year, causing slighter assessment variations.
Each Wayne County property receives an assessment visit once every four years. The county is divided into quadrants, with visits to one quadrant during a year.
Residents last spring received the assessments used to figure this year’s tax bills, so the appeal period has expired. New assessments will be mailed before the end of April, Callahan said.
The increased assessments enabled DLGF to lower many tax rates — by 3.32% for the county and by as much as 14% for the town of Greens Fork — but most taxpayers will still pay more because of the increased assessments.
The county’s 2023 budget and tax report is available by request or online at https://www.in.gov/dlgf/files/2023-reports/Wayne-221230-2023-County-Budget-Order.pdf.
“Wayne County fell into that zero to 10% hike, where some of the state fell into a 35% hike,” Funk said. “The state on the whole, some counties really got hit, but ours is pretty much still in that low category.”
Entities funded by property taxes establish their budgets with DLGF guidance. The state decides how much money the government needs to operate, takes the property assessments and assigns tax rates to cover those amounts, filling the pie, as Funk says.
Hoelscher said taxpayers cover for nontaxable entities, such as schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes and churches. Those paying taxes must still provide for the government’s needs.
“Our money that we collect is not going to go down,” Hoelscher said. “Government protects itself, and in this case, the state has seen fit to protect the government.”
The county collects all of the property tax money and distributes it to the other tax-funded entities. Each taxpayer is assigned a taxing district with a total rate per $100 of assessed property value that comprises the individual rates for the county and applicable township, city or town, public school district, library and sanitary service.
The county’s rate is 92.58 cents per $100, which is lower than last year’s 95.76-cent rate. Richmond has a $1.6642 rate that’s slightly lower than last year’s $1.6737 rate. Among county towns, Hagerstown’s $1.9193 rate is highest, ahead of Greens Fork’s $1.8770 rate.
Wayne Township has the highest township rate at 46.95 cents, significantly higher than the next-highest rate, Webster Township’s 27.36-cent rate. Centerville-Abington schools have the highest rate, $1.4866, among public school districts.
The Richmond Center tax district has the highest total rate at $4.8228, while the Boston Township district has the lowest cumulative rate at $1.8512.
Spring tax bills are due by midnight May 10, Funk said, with a variety of options to remit payment. A dropbox sits in the south parking lot of the Wayne County Administration Building, 401 E. Main St., Richmond. A sign will be affixed to the box at midnight May 10 indicating that any payments left after that point are considered late. No cash should be left in the drop box, and if a self-addressed, stamped envelope is included, a receipt will be mailed.
Taxpayers can also enter that building’s south door, labeled A1, and pay in person at the treasurer’s office in the building’s west wing from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
All First Bank Richmond and Wayne Bank locations also collect tax payments, as does the Merchants Bank location in Richmond. First Bank and Merchants charge a $1 fee, and Wayne Bank assesses a $2 fee.
Bills may be paid online at co.wayne.in.us/treasurer or pay by calling 1-877-690-3729 and using 2412 as the jurisdiction code. Service fees are assessed for using a credit card or electronic check.
Tax payments may also be mailed to the Wayne County Treasurer, 401 E. Main St., Richmond, IN 47374. They must be postmarked by May 10. A receipt will be mailed if the payment includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Residents may call 765-973-9238 with questions.
A version of this article appeared in the April 5 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.