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Tax caps reduce Hobart levy by $2 million
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Tax caps reduce Hobart levy by $2 million

Hobart City Hall

HOBART — The city is feeling the effects of the state’s circuit breaker system.

An Indiana Department of Local Government Finance circuit breaker report for 2021 shows the city’s certified levy at about $19.8 million. After factoring in the circuit breaker, the levy is at about $17.5 million.

“The fact that we’re going to lose in excess of $2 million out of our $19 (million) is a pretty significant hit,” City Councilman Dave Vinzant said.

He said not all area municipalities are experiencing the same financial effect as Hobart.

“As a percentage-wise, we’re one of the most severely hit communities out there in Lake County,” he said. “There are lots of communities that I thought were impacted by the circuit breaker (but) that have no impact whatsoever, at least not this year.”

The state’s circuit breaker system caps the taxes that can be collected from any parcel at 1% of the assessed value of homestead properties, 2% of agricultural land and 3% of commercial properties.

When property tax caps were enacted in 2008, Lake and St. Joseph counties were given a temporary debt exception, but it expired in 2020. Any remaining debt from before July 2008 is no longer figured into property tax bills following the expiration. That has caused a drastic reduction in levies from some taxing units.

Vinzant believes implementing the circuit breaker system was a mistake.

“There’s no way to adjust it and no way to deal with it, and it’s just going to reduce services to the residents of our community,” Vinzant said.

Councilman Matt Claussen said accurate property assessments are paramount because of the circuit breaker situation.

“That’s why it’s important that the assessor stay on top of things and assessment values reflect the current assessed value,” he said.

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