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Strange Bedfellows

My Marion County Democratic friends had a news conference today calling on Republicans to join them on township government reform.   I’m a little hurt they didn’t send me any notice (although I hear Ed Treacy is afraid to answer any of my questions) because they would have discovered I actually agree with them.

State Representative Bill Crawford is calling for township government consolidation via referendum on a township by township basis.  Believe it or not, I don’t think Bill is all that far off.  In fact I think a referendum would be just what this city needs.  I’ve spoken to a number of the members of the Marion County delegation, Bosma, Hinkle, DeLaney, Sullivan, Merritt and Barnes and each asked about government consolidation in their last round of legislative surveys and each time voters and constituents came back in support of it by at least 60%.

Who would have thought both Lawrence and Wayne township voters would want consolidation?  Maybe they’re tired of paying for three fire departments (Lawrence) or a trustee who spent $40,000 with a local public relations to show voters how relevant township government is (Wayne)?  And how many families are waiting to bury loved ones in Marion County, but can’t afford to do it?  Where’s that poor relief?  And don’t the trustees oversee cemetery upkeep?  They should be able to hit that one out of the park.

I think if you ask anyone who pays taxes, they’d be in favor of township government reform.    If you use the system, why mess with the gravy train?   I’m not talking about the poor, I’m talking about most of the people who run the show.  And here’s some food for thought, property tax caps will also be on the ballot as well.   If someone is going to vote for tax caps do you really think they’re going to vote to keep an extra layer of government around?

Wow, I’m agreeing with Marion County Democrats.   Next thing you know Ed, me and our wives will be going to dinner together.   The times they are a changing.

  • Think Again

    We don't need referenda. We need our elected representatives to step up and vote on actual issues. Thagt's why we send them there.

    For two yeas, these folks have boosted important issues, like excess school funding, to the referenda plate. It's gutless. The school funding crisis, for instance, as well as the coming crisis for all units of local government, is a direct result, in large part, of the legislature's failure to adequately address court-mandated changes in the property tax system. Until it was too late.

    The Indiana legislature is like a rural fire department where I once lived. They boasted that they'd saved more home foundations than any other department around.

    We don't need township government at all. It's a wasteful layer of government. Ad I'm getting tired of legislators who duck tough issues. Any township fix that isn't somewhat uniform will; be a patchwork quilt of even more ineffective and inept government. That's how we got Center Township's excess property situation–someone went on a guying spree with public dollars, foolishly. They were given a thumbs-up to do so by—taa daa!—a township board that defines lapdog.

    Lastly, Abdul, that whole double-dating reference was just, well…creepy. On the same day a Congressman talks about arguing in the nude with Rahm Emmanuel. Stop. Please.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Amen to TA, except add redistricting to the gutless list. It's amazing what they never have time to get to. We can accomodate a furor over firearms that I ever knew existed, and there's always time for sugar cream pie. But, trying to tackle our 60-90%+ incumbency retention rate- We'll were sorry, Folks! We're, so, soooooo Sorry, but—We're fresh out of time!!!

  • Dave

    There's a large hole in the cap-sized ship of misstate; the highly volatile & variable assessment system, where “value” is an opinion determined by a perversely interested party (county assess-hurts).

    Perverse interests are those in which a single party derives benefit without assuming risk (governmental bloat).

    TA makes some very good points. But let's remember that township government is ~2% of all local government statewide. Is township government the measurable waste-line of excess?

    An available, wider view of the problem, reveals that things have been DLG F'd up for too long. Or is the state somehow holy? Let's see… CAPS… Commission Assessed Property Seizure…?

  • Think Again

    Dave, perhaps you're unaware: from now on, property value is largely determined by comparable real estate sales. That's part of the “fix” mandated by the court and finally agreed by the legislature.

    In Marion County, professional appraisers reviewed the property records, and for the first time in history, 2009-pay-2010 tax bills are on time and sent out by one unified county assessor.

    Every time somone refinances or gets a new mortgage, the state requires a form to be filed, which lists the property value. Typically, that's via certified appraisal or comparable sales, or both.

    It's not perfect, but it is so far ahead of where we were. Unfortunately, home values are down, but with property tax caps on the immediate horizon, that could be short-term good news on the tax front….bad news on the home value front.

    That loud boom you heard last year was the ground swallowing up nine inefficient and inept township asssessors, in favor of a county-wide system.

    Your turn, Becky…

  • Dave

    Value is one thing; a sale & not an opinion. That's simple, where systems are not, by design & for less than honorable reasons…

  • GP38-2

    A county assessor is not needed when everybody pulls their equal weight. One person, one bill. Simple, no loopholes, no opinions, no BS.

  • IndyAries

    “We don't need referenda. We need our elected representatives to step up and vote on actual issues. Thagt's why we send them there.”

    Alas, TA…since we don't have real statesmen who actually care about We the Pissed Upon, we NEED the referendum.

    Indeed, I wish we had this power guaranteed in our Constitution.

    We all know that the Colt's Playground would never have been built if We the Scorned had the opportunity to vote upon it.