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Tax Reform Giving Fire Departments A Headache

Last updated on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(UNDATED) - A little-noticed provision of this year’s massive tax reform law is complicating the plans of some Indiana fire departments.

The last time Indiana tried to cap property-tax growth, the limits proved too strict for fire departments in rapidly growing suburban townships. The legislature gave them the option of pooling resources with neighboring townships, and let them break the caps for the first three years. The new tax caps eliminate that grace period.

Some fire territories, like Zionsville, are in the middle of their three-year ramp-up, with budgets that count on money they now can't have. Others, like Plainfield, just started and will be frontloading spending into the first year.

A handful of fire chiefs and legislators are asking a legislative study committee to look at restoring the three-year phase-in. The study committee's recommendations are nonbinding. Any changes would be up to next year's general assembly.

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