* St. Joseph County has over 120,000 property parcels, making it the 5th largest after Marion, Lake, Allen and Hamilton counties.
* There are 13 Townships in St. Joseph County. 12 are under the County Assessor. Penn Township has a separate elected one.
* The three components to a property assessment are: Land, Improvements and Adjustments to the Market Value. All assessments are calculated and regulated following State of Indiana statistical guidelines and must comply with State "Ratio Studies" that follow the market trends. All Assessors in Indiana are required to use the state-mandated procedure. A link to the detailed state guidelines is provided at the end of this article.
* Assessments will vary based on the property use: Investment Property, Rental Property, Commercial Property, and Owner Occupied Property. Any time there is a change in the use, ie. Owner Occupied to Rental Property, the assessment values may change.
* Other assessment determinations are by Real Estate, Self-reporting Personal Property Tax of a business, and Mobile Homes.
* New Construction is evaluated as it progresses. The tax determination is for what is done on January 1st of each year.
* After assessments are done, a “Form 11” is mailed to each property owner showing their gross assessed value and any change from the previous year.
* The owner then has 45 days to initiate an appeal, which can be filed either in writing or online.
* If Citizens have questions about appeals, extended office hours are held during the 45 day appeal period so people can easily get their questions answered and receive any help they may need.
* On average only about 3% of property owners appeal their assessments each year.
* When people pay their property taxes, it is for the PREVIOUS YEAR. (Example: “Assess 2018, Pay 2019.”)
Qualifications of the St. Joseph County Assessor, Rosemary Mandrici:
+ Level 3 State Certified Assessor
+ 35 years of assessing experience
+ Graduate of St. Mary's College
+ Board member of the Indiana County Assessor Association
+ Former NW District President
DUTIES OF THE ASSESSOR, THE AUDITOR, THE TREASURER AND THE COMMISSIONERS:
ASSESSOR: Places the gross assessed value on properties using the "mass appraisal approach" and using the “cost system” as a base. These cost tables are set by the State of Indiana.
AUDITOR: Determines the tax rates - Calculates the TS1 qualification of tax level percentages, taxes owed, records Abatements voted on by the Councils, applies tax exempt statuses, deductions like "Homeowners" and "Senior", notes TIF designations
TREASURER: Sends out the property tax invoices, collects taxes, holds an annual property tax lien sale once a year, keeps track of property liens and interest owed to investors. At any given time there are over 2,000 properties in St. Joseph County that have property tax liens. Many of those properties are purchased by people outside of Michiana wanting to collect a 10% interest when the owner pays their delinquent fee to get back the property. Rather than actually owning the property, these investors are just wanting a 10% return on their money which means they have no desire to maintain or develop it. This causes issues for code enforcement. Some parcels are too small for a full development, but might be successful as lots for tiny homes.
COMMISSIONER PROPERTY SALE: After the holding period on a tax lien property has expired and there are no buyers for the property, the Commissioner can sell the property outright where the sale is final and the title change is immediate.
CODE ENFORCEMENT: Write up violations, collect fines and cleanup properties
DATA ON PROPERTIES:
* Property Cards - These are updated once a year with the new value of the property
* The Treasurer bought software that links the Property Cards with the up-to-date tax owed and the exemptions assigned by the Auditor.
* MACOG has created useful maps to display property data
LINKS SO YOU CAN DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH:
ASSESSOR: Rosemary Mandrici - https://www.sjcindiana.com/173/Assessor
AUDITOR: Michael J. Hamman - https://www.sjcindiana.com/176/Auditor
TREASURER: Michael J. Kruk - https://www.sjcindiana.com/386/Treasurer
STATE OF INDIANA DEPT of LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE: https://www.in.gov/dlgf/
ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES - https://www.in.gov/dlgf/2489.htm
St. JOSEPH COUNTY ADDITIONAL INFO:
PROPERTY CARD SEARCH:
EXTRACT DATA: https://www.sjcindiana.com/1443/Data-Extract-Search-Information
MACOG MAPS: (Takes awhile to load so be patient. Not advisable on a phone.)
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia
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