Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 25, 2011

Library votes to hold onto GMCH money

Center Township still to make decision

So far, only Howard County has voted to return its share of the tax settlement with General Motors Components Holdings.

Earlier this year, the county reached an agreement with GMCH over personal property taxes the company owed. GMCH agreed to pay $4.8 million.

As a result of GMCH’s lower assessed value, property owners paid higher taxes last year.

Had all the impacted governmental entities voted to return their share of the settlement to residential property owners, Howard County Assessor Jamie Shepherd estimates taxpayers, on average, would have seen a $400 credit on their 2012 tax bills.

The Howard County Council voted in September to return its share, $846,064, to property owners. Taxpayers will receive about $40 per homestead parcel.

The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library board voted last week not to return the settlement money to property owners.

The board voted 4-3 not to return the $199,686 received. Had the board voted to return the funds, it would have resulted in an approximate $8.56 credit to residential property owners.

During a September meeting of the library board, several members indicated the funds would be better used by the library to purchase a new bookmobile or to extend library hours.

Board members Tom Trine, Stan Ortman and Mary Baker voted to return the money to the taxpayers.

The Center Township Board is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. today at the trustee’s office. It will discuss returning $122,758 it received as a result of the settlement.

Trustee Jean Lushin said he will recommend the funds be returned to the taxpayers.

Board President Linda Koontz said Tuesday she believes the right thing to do is to return the money to property owners, who paid a higher tax bill.

The Solid Waste District board has not met to discuss returning $32,735 it received in the settlement.

The city of Kokomo used $1.2 million of the $2.4 million it will receive to pay off the bonds on the new Center Road fire station and install new sidewalks around local schools.

Mayor Greg Goodnight said a decision on how to use the remaining funds will be made in December or January.

Kokomo-Center schools decided to use the $1.2 million it received from the settlement to help offset a $2 million cut in state funding.

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