Petalas: Waste district revenue boost coming from thawed tax levy

2013-08-20T17:22:00Z 2013-08-21T19:58:06Z Petalas: Waste district revenue boost coming from thawed tax levyMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
August 20, 2013 5:22 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The quarter of a million dollars in new revenues set to hit Lake County solid waste district coffers in 2014 will come from the thawing of a long-frozen tax levy, the county treasurer said Tuesday.

The Lake County Solid Waste Management District had reported last week that $249,000 in new revenues would be coming to the district courtesy of the newly adopted local option income tax.

But after looking further into the issue early this week, Lake County Treasurer John Petalas said the money actually would be coming from a thaw in the district's frozen property tax levy. The property tax levy of all local government units had been frozen since 2007 by the Indiana Legislature in an attempt to force tax reform and the adoption of a local option income tax.

Earlier this year, the Legislature thawed the levy freeze, and the county finally adopted a 1.5 percent local option income tax.

Petalas said the waste district became confused that the $249,000 in new revenue was coming from a portion of the income tax. A line item in the district's proposed 2014 budget listed the revenue as "CEDIT," incorrectly indicating it was from new income tax revenues rather than from the thawing of the previously frozen levy.

Petalas also said the money is now estimated to be $253,343.

Controversy erupted last week when a proposal to use the money for waste district employee pensions was made public by district board Chairman David Hamm.

The money has since been earmarked for other "contingency" purposes in the proposed 2014 budget.

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