Portage's budget in 'good' shape after tax draw

2014-06-25T18:30:00Z 2014-06-26T06:19:07Z Portage's budget in 'good' shape after tax drawJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The city's financial situation is "good, not great" after officials received word of the spring tax draw.

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham said this week that there likely won't be any adjustments to the city's budget after the city received word that it has won its excess levy appeal and tax collections seem to be up.

"It's good, not great," he said.

The city won the $650,000 excess levy appeal based on previous year's shortfalls due to property tax appeals.

In 2013, the city received about 90 percent of its tax money. Both Stidham and Mayor James Snyder said if the spring draw is any indication, taxes collected in 2014 will be above that mark.

"Last year the two draws were less than the four previous years," Snyder said. "I believe the appeals have finally been settle and we took the brunt of it last year."

"Last year was a pretty big hiccup," he said.

Stidham said assessments lag behind the economy and they had been declining, which hurt the city's collections. However, he believes the assessments have bottomed out and will be able to help counter the effects of tax caps.

Stidham said they based this year's budget on 90 percent collection rates.

"We have enough to pay for our budget," Stidham said.

Snyder said other collections are also up. For example, when the city began distributing trash and recycling totes last year, they found about 400 households that weren't in the system. They have now are paying the monthly trash fees.

"There are a lot of things taking place in the city to make sure collections are higher," Snyder said.

He and Stidham also agreed that the switches in health insurance helped the city's budget, saving enough to pay for employee union contracts.

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About Portage

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6070 W. Central Ave. Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-5425

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