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September 14, 2013

Harrison trustee calls for tax levy increase

TERRE HAUTE — For the first time in three years, the Harrison Township Trustee will seek a tax levy increase for its general fund.

The general fund tax levy is proposed at .0178 or about 17 cents per $100 assessed value. The township’s levy for township assistance dipped .07 percent, giving a proposed overall tax rate for the township at .0736 or about 73 cents per $100 assessed value.

The township did not seek a tax levy rate for its general fund from 2011 to 2013.

Harrison Township Trustee Deborah Kirk-Peters said the township had not sought a tax increase for its general fund as she has been using funds from the township’s investments, including a Rainy Day fund, to cover expenses, salaries and township assistance.

“I have been taking the maximum amount since I got here,” she said. “I can only take up to half of it. I used half the first year, then half of what was left the next and this year I am taking half of that,” she said.

Some funds were used to repair the township’s office at 721 Elm St. as a roof was in need of repair. That project cost about $38,500. That left the Rainy Day fund with $21,461 this year, said Monica Vanhook, township clerk.

The township is seeking to raise $765,000 from property taxes — $185,000 for its general fund and $580,000 for township assistance. That is an overall increase of $103,924 over last year.

Kirk said the township in May adopted new state guidelines that increased its pay outs for township assistance. For example, the township now provides $600 per month, up from $500, for rental assistance with utilities, Vanhook said. The township now can provide up to $3,000 per applicant for utility costs, double from the previous $1,500 per applicant per year.

In addition, the township can provide $35 in household assistance, such as for food, for an individual and up to $85 for a six-person family.

The township Thursday held a public hearing on its proposed 2014 budget. The township’s proposed 2014 budget for its general fund is $223,487, while its proposed township assistance budget is $1,059,414.

 The township’s advisory board is slated to vote on a budget adoption at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 26 at the township office. If approved, the budget then goes to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for state approval.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@trib star.com.

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