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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Assesor April Stapp Collins Responds to Property tax increases this year

LAWRENCE COUNTY - MARCH 29, 2023 - Correction to news story: Should read April Stapp Collins as County Assessor and Jessica Staggs as Lawrence County Auditor. The information was incorrect in the original story.


The Lawrence County Zephyr reported that property taxes may increase for some Lawrence County Property owners.


Photo: In 2021 and 2022 Budget years Lawrence County Elected leaders asked for salary increases which combined both years totaled over 20 percent for most Republican office holders


Lawrence County Assessor April Stapp Collins responded to the Lawrence County Zephyr's request to explain why the steep increase in property taxes in 2023.


This is a press release Lawrence County Assessor April Stapp Collins released on Wednesday morning:


Tax bills will be mailed soon and most taxpayers will see increases in the assessed value of their property. This could mean increases in tax bills.


According to Dr. Larry DeBoer of Purdue University, this increase is a remnant of the pandemic. Home prices increased in 2021 as mortgage interest rates fell. More people were working from home and the demand for more space in the family home increased. Corn & Soybean prices spiked increasing the value of land ownership. The shortage of building materials contributed to increased construction costs.


The 2022 pay 2023 tax bills are based on sales data from 2021. The 2021 sales data was used to set the 2022 assessed values. The 2022 assessed values are what the 2023 taxes are based on. The consequences of the pandemic are showing up in 2023 tax bills with assessed values rising across the state by 14.6 percent, the largest increase we have seen in 20 years.


The standard homestead deduction of 45,000 remains unchanged for pay 2023. To use Dr. DeBoer’s example, if your home was assessed at $200,000 for 2021 and received a 20% increase in assessed value for 2023 the value then rises to $240,000. When you apply the homestead deduction of $45,000 the assessed value increases from $155,000 in 2021 to $195,000 in 2022 which is a 26% increase in the net assessed value where the gross assessed value only increased 20%.


The taxable assessed value increases faster for lower valued homes. Using the above example with different values a $100,000 home with a 20% increase is $120,000. Minus the Homestead deduction of $45,000 the increase is from $55,000 to $75,000 a 36% increase. There was no accommodation made for an increase in the Homestead standard deduction to off set the increase in assessed value of homes. Therefore, the

taxable assessed values increase even faster, and more so for lower valued homes. Tax bills will in turn rise faster too.


The tax caps are still in place with 1% on homesteads, 2% on rental housing and farmland and business property at 3%.


On average in the state Homestead gross assessed values increased by 15.5% between pay 2022 and pay 2023. Eighty-three counties experienced Homestead gross assessed value in excess of 10%.


Lawrence county experienced 15 to 20 percent increase in GAV.


The assessed value of property for 2022 is effective for taxes payable in 2023 and is influenced by sales throughout the year of 2021.


The Indiana statewide average gross assessed value of all property types

increased by 13.2% for payable 2023. Lawrence County’s GAV change was in the 10-15% group. Forty-four of ninety-two counties were in this group.


Bottom line is assessments are rising with property values as the Indiana Constitution requires. said Collins in her release Wedneday morning.


According to Jaque Clements Indiana Association of Indiana Counties during the budget hearings in 2022 the county the property tax increases and assessed values of property owners helped justify the pay increases for Lawrence County elected officials who received over a 20 percent pay increase in the two budget cycles.


  • Certified Net Assessed Value in 2022 - $1,676,588,883 or $ 1.7 Billion

  • Certified Net Assessed Value estimated in 2023 - $1,956,925,888 or $ 2 Billion

  • Maximum Levy for 2023 - $9,711,561 - Total levy used in 2023 - $10,547,439 which is over budget of $335,878.

Clements in telephone conference last budget cycle help guide the council in establishing tax levies and give support to Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs request for pay increases for county elected officials.

The figures by the Indiana Association of Counties reported a deficit of $335,878 in 2022. This helped the Lawrence County Council members justify the pay increases for both the county employees and elected leaders who already got a huge boost in their salaries.


Lawrence County brought in $36.2 Million in property taxes in which the county was owed $38 Million.


The property tax sale held in October 2022 brought in $1.2 Million with a total of 83 parcels which was collected for 2021.


The budget for Lawrence County is $29 Million for 2023.


Other taxing units could have a impact on some property tax bills:

  • Lawrence County Solid Waste District asked for maximum levy this year

  • North Lawrence Community School tax rate remained the same despite consolidation

  • Mitchell Community Schools tax rate seen a slight decrease

  • Lawrence County Fire Territory tax increase for Shawswick and Guthrie Townships

  • City of Bedford residents have the highest tax rate of 3.777 per assessed value

Let us know how the property taxes in 2023 impacted you on the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook comment section.


For breaking news, news and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr.


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