Follow this

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FOLLOW THE MONEY PART II




MONEY MONEY (where did it all go?)

Bolin at work Wednesday Night
For years, Martinsville City officials and the general public have been unable to understand how and why the Washington Township Government has been so flush with cash, pay, and benefits, and the city has been so cash strapped.  During the Wednesday, April 10, Washington Township meeting, answers to some of those questions may have been finally answered.  After spending a considerable amount of his personal time over the past two years doing research and following the money trail, Bob Bolin presented eye-opening findings to the public Wednesday evening.   Bolin showed the budget process and money trail, which hinted that the township may have been using and spending money that should have been applied elsewhere.  At this point, Bob had the full attention of the audience.

As previously reported in the Martinsville Report, township spending for fire protection is high.  It is the highest in the county.   In the article, HIGH COSTS AND IDLE TIME and this article, FIREMAN FINANCIAL RESULTS ARE IN, the spending is detailed.   The Washington Township board is (supposed to be) the final controlling legal authority for all money spent in the township.   However, past boards have seemingly delegated the budgeting and financial controls to those who spend the money.

THE CONFUSING PROCESS  

At the meeting Wednesday night Bolin produced a process flowchart showing how state money should be/is distributed to the county and then re-distributed to the townships.
#1 The Money/budget and process Flow Chart
  He also showed how the legislature intended that money, in part, to be used equitably and fairly to reduce local property taxes and support local government.  

This money, commonly called CAGIT money at the statehouse, (comprised of what is called County Adjusted Gross Income Tax money AND Property Tax Replacement Credit (PTRC)),  is sent yearly from the state to the county in a form known as "certified shares" money, and then distributed to the townships.   After it is distributed, it is the responsibility of the township Board to see that it is properly spent.  The whole funding process is complicated and trying to explain it clearly is a difficult task.




THE DETAIL as presented by Bolin




#2 Property Tax Relief Credit and CAGIT math 
 From chart #2, the assessed value in the city is $359M and the assessed value of the township (not including the portion that lies in the city) is $332M.  The mathematical ratio between the two is noted in the chart.


THE SHOCKER
#3  The MONEY
In Bob's chart #3 the CAGIT certified shares money distributed to the township in the form of "certified shares" has been over $1.112M over the last 5 years.   However, what was done with that money will stun you.

The township is comprised of both township outside the city and township inside the city.  A long long time ago, CAGIT was SPLIT and spent proportionately, based on assessed values, between general township outside the city, and township within the city.    Somewhere along the line, that changed.   No one recalls when that change took place.  However, the lawmakers made a huge mistake and left a loophole big enough to drive a Washington township firetruck through it by giving township boards the option of where to allocate the money.   

The result of this, at least in Washington Township, was that the Washington Fire Department snatched all $1.1 Million over the last 5 years and spent every penny.  None of the $720K of certified share money was distributed back to city related township business, poor relief, or property tax relief.        


DOUBLE TAXATION

City taxpayers essence have paid twice for fire services.  They paid first for city fire protection and secondly, by not getting the certified shares money they were due, also paid for the township fire services that they will never use.   City residents then probably had to be taxed even more by the city to make up for the certified shares not received.   Township taxpayers not in the city also had to be taxed more to make up for the certified shares that were not credited  to general township expenses.  Every taxpayer in the township loses, except the fire department employees.

NOW WHAT? 

The legislature knows about this loophole.   Once it closes, what will happen?  The first thing that will happen is that the township fire protection will no longer be subsidized by the taxpayers in the city.  Next, city taxpayer may see both their township property tax rates and poor relief tax decreased.



DECISIONS

Township taxpayers not in the city need to make a decision.   What kind of fire protection do they want?  Do they want their property taxes to increase or stay the same?   After this years re-assessment, no one wants more taxes.  If the taxpayers want to continue to fund the highest cost fire station in the unincorporated portion of Washington Township, taxes will need to rise to keep fire protection employees living in the manner to which they are accustomed.   If not, change is on the way at the township fire station. 

From a financial perspective, the Washington Township fire department could survive in its entirety without tax increases if the cost structure is re-aligned on par with the Martinsville fire department.  Many townships across Indiana have reformulated their fire stations and gone with part time firemen, volunteers, market wages, and a mix of full time firemen in order to keep their cost and tax structure reasonable and competitive. 

During the meeting, Lonnie Kern, the highest paid fireman of all, who was paid over $70K last year, stood up and said, "I just wanna reiterate, what is being done is perfectly legal, if we're gonna change the system, we need a plan to replace the funding in advance".   

SUMMARY

Your property taxes will either increase if Washington Township officials continue their current course (business as usual) of action or.........................................................your taxes will stay the same when and if the Washington Township board exhibits the foresight, leadership, and courage required to properly manage their own cost structure.....and your property tax bill.

I told you it was complicated.




6 comments:

  1. so thankful someone is finally shining a light in these areas. No matter how much we are taxed it will never be enough to suit these people. What about the property the city purchased ,how did they do it and did deckard get a real-estate commission out of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it is being researched.....takes time

      Delete
  2. the web we weave.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I appreciate the effort and information provided.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a mook! One week your for the firefighters and the next your wanting to sit them on 37 in front of a mack truck. Im a tax payer and I would rather pay a little more and keep my fire protection then settle for less trained and longer response times. No im not a firefighter or in anyway associated with them. Im a tax payer who goes to these meetings and listens to the facts and not the Bull you post on here. If bob would stop you would lose your footing because your so far up his a**. And he isnt God and never will be. Be a matter of fact I hope he runs again and gets beat bad! Then he wont be able to use taxpayer money for bullshit like he does now

    ReplyDelete
  5. Whoever made this last comment is obviously biased. We're (taxpayers) being ripped off and it's time the Washington township f2f COUNTRY CLUB is reorganized.

    ReplyDelete