Property Tax "Stories"

Watchdog Indiana Home Page General Assembly Property Tax Legislation Homestead Deductions Threat Property Tax Caps Top Twenty Reasons to support Constitutional Property Tax Caps Property Tax Caps: How They Operate Property Tax Caps K-12 Schools Impact Property Tax Caps Municipal Impact Property Tax Caps: Referendum Implications 2008 House Bill 1001 Property Tax Assessment Issues Property Tax Betrayal & Incompetence Property Tax Replacement Accurate Property Tax Math Property Tax Replacement Impact Homeowner Property Tax Effects 2008 Property Tax Legislation Testimonies Property Tax Deferral Program 

Please send information about the effects of reassessment on Hoosier homeowners to 

Individual homeowner property tax "stories" are recorded alphabetically by county.  In addition to having a special interest in drastic property tax increases, Watchdog Indiana is also interested in finding out how few homeowners receive the 13.1% Pay 2003 Property Tax reduction promised to the average homeowner statewide. 

Hancock County

Dave Oakes (Greenfield): I own rental property and I found out that my taxes have increased 80%. I talked to the assessor and she told me that it was the State that failed to provide exemptions to offset the increase in the way the taxes were calculated. She said that she could hardly understand how it was calculated either. Did our lawmakers think of those who are renters? It does not seem that way. I suspect that most, if not all, of them are land owners. Go figure!! This is the situation of most rental owners. Now I must eat the increase or pass it on. This makes much hardship on people who rent, especially those who cannot afford to purchase property. My renter is a single Mom who is try to put her daughter through college. She cannot afford the increase. (10/11/03 E-mail)

Johnson County

Vickie and Lee Frodge (Bargersville): The property taxes for these retirees increased to $1,708 from $1,050. (09/03/03 Indianapolis Star)

Marion County

70 years old and retired from nursing (Indianapolis): But Meridian Kessler is more than just the tony streets like Meridian, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or Washington Boulevard. David Bond said, "I sat on a woman’s porch at about 41st & College. She said, ‘That [tax increase] wiped out my medication money.’ She is on a fixed income, and plans to leave. It’s the elderly people who call the cops on the drug dealers, who have been involved with the neighborhood associations. They’re the ones who made it possible for young people to go into the area by making it stable. The idea of her not being in this neighborhood is at odds with the whole idea of neighborhood." (12/16/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Kathy Biddle (Indianapolis): I would like to publicly thank President Bush for our child tax credit. It came just in time to help pay our property taxes, which are five times higher than last year. (09/07/03 Indianapolis Star)

Annie and David Bond (Indianapolis): For the past 17 years, Annie and David Bond have played a significant role in revitalizing their neighborhood. In that time the couple has purchased and renovated 65 houses in Meridian Kessler, Broad Ripple and Butler-Tarkington. They resold most of the properties to new owners, and kept about 11 houses, mostly doubles, as rentals. Now they have put all but one of their investment properties on the market and are thinking about leaving the city - and the state. Like thousands of other owners of older homes in Indianapolis, the Bonds received new property tax bills double and triple what they had been paying before. The tax bill for their portfolio, which includes their rentals and the renovated houses they have not yet sold, jumped by tens of thousands of dollars, leading them to a startling and unwelcome conclusion: the numbers just don’t work anymore. David said, "We had rentals that used to make money. Now they’re not worth owning. We’ve been T-boned." They are committed to city life, and respect the historic qualities of the houses they renovate. David added, "Have we helped? Maybe. But the reality is it takes people who want to live in the neighborhood to make it work - younger people who have more time and energy than they have money to improve their houses." Now that hefty tax increases have made it harder for entry-level buyers to qualify for mortgages, he’s afraid the number of people interested in the area has dwindled. So the Bonds - and other investors they know - are selling out. David said, "Most investors in this neighborhood are like us. They tend to be people who live in the neighborhood, so they have an incentive to better maintain their rentals. I know this prominent guy who lives on Meridian Street. He had dozens of properties, significant in location, quality, and upkeep. He has now put every one of them up for sale. He’s mobilized his talents, capital and energy, and is investing everything in Florida. He’s no longer part of this market. That’s a watershed event." David gave an example of a house they recently renovated in Forest Hills. "It appraised for $325,000 last year. Now we have so little confidence in the market that we’re listing it at $279,000 and it still isn’t selling." The Bonds used to be able to sell their houses themselves; now they’ve had to enlist a real estate agent. "He told us things in Meridian Kessler are moving considerably slower, and in a healthier market they’d be selling for 25 percent more," Annie said. "The first thing potential buyers ask is, ‘what are the taxes?’" (12/16/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Michael Broderick: He lives near Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson on the city’s Northeastside in a home just three years old. The experts said taxes on new homes were supposed to go down. Broderick’s didn’t. He had been paying $3,600 a year. Under the new assessment system, it increased to $4,800 a year. “I’m paying more than the mayor and his house is older than mine,” said Broderick. (08/12/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Jim Cockrum: About a year ago, Cockrum and his business partners launched W.C. Urban Renewal, a company that buys rundown houses in Indianapolis' poorer neighborhoods, fixes them up and then resells them. But that was before Marion County was walloped with higher property taxes. "It's the straw that broke the camel's back," he said. "The city's real estate market has been extremely slow because of questions about tax bills." The company was renovating seven inner-city homes when the bills began to arrive. Tax increases on the properties ranged from 20 percent to 100 percent. Already-thin profit margins were suddenly slimmer. "It might be much safer for us to go out of the city to invest in real estate," Cockrum said. "We wanted to stay, to be a part of the comeback the city seemed to be making." He has a parting thought for city leaders. "I think (they) need to drive to Detroit to observe block after block of abandoned, worthless homes," he said. "Observe what happens when a struggling city tries to fix budget problems with tax increases." (07/20/3 Indianapolis Star)

Sally Curtis (65-year-old Far-Northside woman living on about $9,000 a year): Her annual property tax bill nearly doubled to $1,460. She plans to sell the three-bedroom house near 75th Street and Westfield Boulevard that she has lived in for 40 years. (07/06/03 Indianapolis Star)

Barry Delk: I am a Realtor/Broker and have been in the business for more than a decade serving central Indiana. I recently sold a home for an elderly person who had to pay approximately $1,500 ($750 each) for two tax installments on a home assessed at $58,500. It was a rental she owned, but it represented a 75% increase over what she paid just last year (and last year was an increase as well). Also, $1,500 seems way out of line for a home of that value. Homes in that range usually are purchased by people of relatively meager wages, maybe twenty to twenty-five thousand a year. This means they will have to spend 10% of there disposable income on property taxes. (07/10/03 E-mail)

Barry Delk: I am a Realtor/Broker and have been in the business for more than a decade serving central Indiana. The worse part of the new tax assessments is that it really has harmed many fixed income retired people, some of which rely only on SSI. An elderly lady had her personal home's property taxes go up between $400-$500 a year, over a 40% increase. This lady receives less than $1,300 a month from SSI ( I think less than $1,200) and that is it. Again, she is in a modestly priced home and now a large chunk of what she lives on will now be going to property taxes. (07/10/03 E-mail) 

Jeff and Amy Coats (Lawrence Township): The Coatses are among about 38 percent of county residents whose bills have dropped. The annual property tax on their beige one-story home went down $122, a 10.4 percent decrease from their $1,170 bill in 2002. (07/06/03 Indianapolis Star)

Jackie Davis: When we were able to buy our house at 43rd and Broadway 25 years ago, I was thrilled. Of course, back then, this block (4200-4400) was iffy. But, we loved the diversity and, fairly soon, there were more families with children moving in and fixing up homes. We've kept up our home, participated in neighborhood activities. We also squeezed our budget to send our children to private schools for a better education. So, with the exception of one unfortunate year in IPS, the city has had our tax money for schools without spending anything on our children. Yet, despite everything we've done, our property taxes went up by $2,150 per year. Our twice-refinanced mortgage has gone up by $500 a month. So, any gain we've made in the past few years is wiped out and it's as though we're starting all over again. Why they picked on Meridian-Kessler, and Butler-Tarkington, is beyond me. (12/16/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Larry Dorfman (a 55-year-old builder who moved into a 2,300-square-foot home on Meridian Street two decades ago): His home and property are assessed at about $427,000. His property tax bill went up from $1,800 a year to $8,300 a year. (07/06/03 Indianapolis Star)

Clarence E. Frownfelter (5520 W. Market Street, Indianapolis, Wayne Township): The so-called reassessment of my property went from $38,300 net value to $67,100 net value (up .7519 %). My property taxes went up from $483.00 per half to $720.35 per half (increase of right at 50%). I have lived at my residence since 1960 and have fought hard to keep my property from losing value in spite of the fact that the neighborhood property values are dropping like a rock. Equivalent properties in this neighborhood determine the MARKET VALUE or Market Analysis (my wife is a licensed realtor). I am retired on a fixed income and this new invasion on our well being is ridiculous. We don't know what to do with this and the rape of the public by the retail gas prices and other things going on in Indiana. The referenced 16.3 % average statewide homeowner property tax reduction is not truthful when in fact I actually received an increase of 50 %. (07/11/03 E-mail)

David K. Harold (Meridian-Kessler neighborhood in Indianapolis): When we re-financed last fall our smaller ranch-style home with no basement and no garage was appraised at $133,000. When we received our re-assessment, it was a whopping $239,000! We ARE appealing. (07/15/03 Indianapolis Eye) 

Catherine Helmer (College Avenue in the southern end of the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood in Indianapolis): Helmer is fighting to stay in the home where she's lived since 1966, the place where she raised 10 children. Helmer, who will turn 80 in a few weeks, says her property taxes more than tripled this summer, from $1,200 a year to $4,000. One son, who is handicapped, remains in the house with Helmer. Her husband died in 1983. "This is my legacy. This is the only thing I have to leave my son." Helmer says she can scrape together enough money to pay the current tax bill. But she's worried about her future, and the neighborhood's. "After the tax bills began arriving, the 'for sale' and 'for rent' signs mushroomed up and down the streets in the neighborhood," she said. Helmer plans to appeal her assessment, but she's also contemplating the future if her request is denied. "I don't know anyone who would want to buy it with the high taxes," she said. "It would probably have to sit empty until it was sold for back taxes." (07/25/03 Indianapolis Star)

Charles Hiltunen (Meridian-Kessler neighborhood of Indianapolis): His annual property tax bill went up from about $3,200 to $9,665. His mortgage payment will go up $1,300 a month. (05/05/03 Lebanon Reporter and 07/22/03 Indianapolis Eye)

B. Diane Landon (Indianapolis): I find it hard to believe some of the figures I see in The Indianapolis Star on property taxes, including the recent one about taxes in similar cities ("Property tax bills are below average," August 31). My sister and I bought older homes - she in Milwaukee and I in Indianapolis. We paid within $1,000 of the same amount for the homes. Lat year, our property taxes were almost identical: $2,344 per year. However, my new bill of $5,450 is far greater than her bill, which remained the same as previuos year. For Milwaukee's rates to be lower than Indy and for the average increase to be only $168 in Marion County, my increase must be offset by many whose bills went way down. That "average increase" is a joke. A real estate agent would not appraise my house for even half what the new tax bill says it is worth. (09/02/03 Indianapolis Star)

Tim Matthews: I wish I had only seen an increase of 8%!! I have a rental home in Indianapolis that had an increase in taxes from $789 annually to over $2,800 annually. Does not take much to see that this is 355% increase. The real issue is that they set the assessed value @ $116,000 vs the average sale price of $48,500 on my street. (07/11/03 E-mail)

Coral Mediger (Indianapolis): The change in this tax will now increase my mortgage payment by about $43 a month. That may not be a lot of money to some people, but when you live on a budget, it sure is. (08/11/03 Indianapolis Star)

Reverend Bill Novak (Indianapolis): "Over the past 30 years, I’ve watched people in this neighborhood fight busing, redlining, urban blight, crime, drive-by shootings, the crack epidemic, and a deteriorating public school system. Now just when we’ve seen some light at the end of the tunnel, they’re willing to ruin all the progress we’ve made." The pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 52nd and Central is talking trash about the politicians behind the recent astronomical property tax increases in the neighborhood. He has already seen evidence of neighborhood decline now that the tax increases have kicked in. "The long-term deleterious effect will be on the rental properties. That given the increased property taxes, rental property cannot make any money. The fear isn’t the immediate, short-term effect, but the long-term effect when the landlords stop maintaining their properties." (12/16/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Ana Papakhian: It's the same story all over. I moved in to a Victorian double in St. Joseph's (near Chatham Arch) in 2002 and was handed a %400 property tax increase for 2003. We had to borrow the money to pay taxes. Now, my husband and our baby and I are looking to move. What's really unfair is that when we're looking at properties with similar values downtown, some have taxes %300 less than ours. We want to be a part of the downtown community (both work in the arts), but it seems like the government doesn't want us here. We might as well move back to New York City where we came from! (12/16/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Terri Petersen: I am a local realtor and have seen first hand the impact the tax increase has had on property sales and purchases. I was working with a couple who fell in love with a home in Marion county. We had spent considerable time previewing the home and going through the lender pre-approval process. In the mean time the reassessment went into effect which tripled the property tax. It went from $1075 a half to $3,738 a half.  This changed the whole way the lender looked at being able to qualify the buyer. I can imagine how this is effecting home owners on a fixed income with no means to meet this huge increase in property tax. Just does not seem fair! (10/28/03 E-mail)

Roger H. Stevens: Got my property tax bill today. Doubled from last year. Thought the sales tax increase last year would reduce property taxes. Fourteen days to come up with another $1,500. Have to forego the only week of vacation I take annually. (07/03/03 E-mail)

Donald L. Walls (Beech Grove): Wall's property tax bill increased 80 percent from $1,429 to $2,573 annually. (08/03/03 Indianapolis Star)

Eileen Waldron: Because my family’s property taxes went up 150 percent, we will now have a mortgage payment of more than $1,500 a month; but, I am okay with that because I believe in paying my fair share. (07/29/03 Indianapolis Eye)

Kathy and Steve Washburn (Arden neighborhood): Property taxes jumped from about $2,000 to just less than $7,000. (07/06/03 Indianapolis Star)

Monroe County

Larry Robinson: My property taxes more than doubled, from $360 to $780 per year. And this was AFTER it had doubled from $180 to $360 after I added onto the house. The house appraised at $82,000 in the reassessment, which matches the appraisal I got for refinancing. (07/11/03 E-mail)

Morgan County

Debora Hutchinson (Mooresville): I have always owned and renovated older homes. I love their history and feel. They are a lot of work but well worth the effort. I just got my reassessment, and it looks like I am going to have to change my way of thinking. My house was assessed at $30,000 more than the value. The good news is my friend with her new low-maintenance $300,000 home has a low assessment, so maybe I can move in with her. People buy older homes because they love them despite the high maintenance costs and inconvenience. We love to feel we are doing something to preserve history. The message I get loud and clear from Indiana is, "Get out; we are not interested in your efforts or pride. Go build a new home." I have to admit, air conditioning does sound good. Stripping wood was getting a little old, and tuck-pointing bricks isn't really my cup of tea. In a new home maybe I'd have time for a cup of tea. Forget about pride and history. I'm getting a house with a dishwasher. Maybe an attached garage and a little Prozac will help me over my obsession with downtown Indiana. (08/290/3 Indianapolis Star)

Starke County

Bob Schmidt: My question is why are the people not receiving their property tax bills. We did not receive one in May and here it is October 15 and we are still waiting. Rumors tells us our taxes could be doubling, in this case we will not be prepared to pay such an amount at the November deadline. How can we find out about our taxes? (10/15/03 E-mail)

Wells County

Dan Eckelbarger (Craigville): The annual property tax bill on his modest, four-bedroom home went down about $180. (08/05/03 Lebanon Reporter) 

Watchdog Indiana Home Page General Assembly Property Tax Legislation Homestead Deductions Threat Property Tax Caps Top Twenty Reasons to support Constitutional Property Tax Caps Property Tax Caps: How They Operate Property Tax Caps K-12 Schools Impact Property Tax Caps Municipal Impact Property Tax Caps: Referendum Implications 2008 House Bill 1001 Property Tax Assessment Issues Property Tax Betrayal & Incompetence Property Tax Replacement Accurate Property Tax Math Property Tax Replacement Impact Homeowner Property Tax Effects 2008 Property Tax Legislation Testimonies Property Tax Deferral Program 

This page was last updated on 03/31/13 .