Starke County Council Discusses Levy Growth Options

David Pearman

The Starke County Council this week discussed a number of options available to grow the county’s levy, specifically three options regarding income tax and property tax.

Council President Dave Pearman explained that the state froze levy growth for the majority of Hoosier counties back in the 1970’s, and several counties are now wondering how to go about unfreezing that growth. He explained that the levy was frozen to prevent counties from extending their levy growth beyond the means of their local growth – essentially spending beyond their means.

Fortunately, Pearman explained that there are basically three options to “thaw” that freeze: first, counties can base the levy growth on income tax growth; second, base it on income tax growth with property tax growth as a backup; and finally, base the growth on the state’s calculated annual growth rate, 2.8 percent, while retaining consideration of property tax and income tax growth.

Pearman said the safest option for Starke County was the third option. He stressed that this does not mean taxes will be increased, as this decision merely determines how the levy growth is calculated. Now, Pearman said, the levy’s growth is based on calculated growth, property tax, and income tax.