Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Myth of Fishers

One of the consistent themes brought forward by supporters of the Fishers Town Council is the claim that Fishers has the lowest property tax rates in Hamilton County and thus shows what a wonderful job they are doing, and/or how this shows how a "town" form of government, which has no elected Mayor, is superior to a City form of government, which of course does have popular election of a Mayor.

The problem is, it does not seem to be true.

At least according to a report of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, which has issued a report on local property tax rates for 2010.  That full report is available here:

Fishers has two different basic tax rates, one for the half of the city in Delaware Township (the half generally west of I-69) and Fall Creek Township (the east half).  For Delaware Township, the Fishers effective property tax rate for a homestead is 0.95%.  For Fall Creek Township, it is 1.01%. 

Ok, that doesn't sound too bad.  But compare to Carmel, with which Fishers' town leaders have had a running feud.  Carmel's homestead tax rate is 0.91%., LOWER than both Fishers' township rates.  Worse, from the viewpoint of Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless, in the "All other property" category, which includes virtually all business property, Carmel comes in at 1.75% and Fishers - Fall Creek comes in higher at 2.07% and Fishers - Delaware comes still higher at 2.08%. 

Carmel and Fishers are similar in many ways, except for their form of government.  True, there are criticisms of Carmel for its large bond debt, but Fishers has a large bond debt as well, as do the schools of both communities.  Plus, as shown by a recent newspaper article, Carmel has about 3 times the assessed property value of Fishers, most of that business property, which lessens the tax impact of the building boom the City of Carmel is on.  Or perhaps having a single leader, a Mayor, is better at attracting businesses (which pay higher taxes) , than the leaderless Town of Fishers.