Indiana Farm Bureau – Public Policy Dispatch
Volume 18, Issue 7, January 18, 2013
SENATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE HEARS ASSESSOR QUALIFICATION AND GOVERNMENT MERGER BILLS SB 19, dealing with local government reorganization and authored by Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), was heard on Wednesday. Katrina Hall testified in favor of the bill that attempts to provide for a separate vote tally for those inside and outside the city limits when a city and county are attempting a merger. Sen. Tomes offered the bill to address the unequal playing field that rural residents were subjected to in the recent merger referendum dealing with Vanderburgh County and the City of Evansville. Hall offered three additional provisions to improve the bill, including the requirement of a public fiscal plan that would give voters an idea of the ramifications of proposed mergers and a prohibition of referendum campaign contributions to the city or county from vendors doing business with either. The Indiana Chamber testified against the bill saying it was not needed due to the extreme success those opposing the Vanderburgh/Evansville merger had on November 6. The bill was held until next week when a major amendment is expected to be offered.
The Senate Local Government Committee also heard SB 12 (Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville), which deals with whether a county assessor must obtain a Level III certification before running for or continuing to hold office. The bill would instead allow an employee or contractor to hold the Level III designation. County assessors who were in Indianapolis for a training conference testified against the bill saying that the Level III certification has provided credibility to their office and much needed expertise. The assessors present felt SB 12 was a step backward. The bill was held for further negotiations.