GOSHEN — Elkhart County Council members Saturday gave their blessing to the exploration of a several new taxing options for the county in the hopes of finding a way to minimize the county’s ongoing losses in property tax revenue resulting from the state’s Circuit Breaker Property Tax Credits.
During Saturday’s meeting, County Commissioner Mike Yoder went before the council as a representative of what has come to be known as the Intergovernmental Forum, a small group of local legislators whose members include county commissioners, county council members, county planning and redevelopment department officials, as well as several representatives from Elkhart and Goshen city government.
According to Yoder, the group over the past few months has been examining the current and future impacts of the circuit breaker tax credits on Elkhart County, and has determined that the county has actually been hit harder than most counties in the state when it comes to losses in tax revenue.
“Frankly, many counties around the state are now doing OK,” Yoder said. “The economy has recovered a little more strongly in those communities. Elkhart County is beginning to stick out a little more as one that is struggling to overcome the circuit breaker credits specifically.”
As an example, Yoder pointed to a recent study by the financial advising firm Umbaugh and Associates indicating that the county will likely continue to face funding shortfalls in the range of $4 to $6 million every year for the foreseeable future unless a new revenue source is found.
“At some point, we have to face the reality that we’re not going to recover as quickly as we wanted,” Yoder said.
As things stand now, Yoder noted that the county currently only has three options available when it comes to local income tax options provided by the General Assembly, none of which he thinks are very good. Those options include: