Kokomo — The contested assessed value of personal property submitted by General Motors Component Holdings is shifting almost $5 million to other property tax payers in Howard County.
After GMCH purchased some Delphi Electronics & Safety facilities in Kokomo, it filed a personal property assessed value last May of $7.4 million for 2010 taxes payable in 2011.
According to the Howard County auditor’s office, the assessed value for the same personal property submitted by Delphi for 2009 taxes payable in 2010 was $217.9 million.
Auditor Ann Wells said GMCH lowered the assessed value by 96.5 percent, which also lowered the tax liability by 95.7 percent.
Wells said the tax liability paid by Delphi for the 2009 tax year was $5,173,926. GMCH will be paying $223,590 for the 2010 tax year, a decrease in revenue to local units of government of $4,950,336.
The five taxing units that will be hardest hit are all located in the city of Kokomo taxing district. They include Center, Clay, Harrison, Howard and Taylor townships. The increase will also impact the Kokomo-Center, Taylor, Northwestern and Western school districts.
According to the auditor’s office, the reduction in assessed value will account for approximately 50 percent of the property tax increase residents will see on their tax bills next week.
In other words, if a property owner in one of those five taxing districts sees his taxes increase by $100 over last year’s amount, approximately $50 is attributable to GMCH.
Wells said additional circuit breaker loss from the decrease in the GMCH assessment is $3 million, which means local government entities will have to reduce spending by that amount. Because of that, she said, Howard County will have to cut $1 million from the approved 2011 budget.
Howard County officials and representatives from GMCH met last week in Kokomo to resolve the differences in the assessed value, but reported making little progress.
“GM Components Holdings and Howard County have had several in-depth discussions around the value of GMCH property in the county,” Greg Martin, director of policy and Washington communications for GM, said Friday. “Because those discussions are ongoing, it is premature to discuss the impact until a mutually developed decision has been reached.
“We appreciate that Howard County is not unique in that many communities throughout the U.S. are contending with budget shortfalls and the ability to maintain services,” he said. “GM, however, has a responsibility to ensure that its property is assessed in line with true tax value and, equally important, ensures that its operations remain competitive for long-term sustainability.”
Martin said GM remains committed to working with Howard County on a resolution that helps meet the interests of both parties.
“In advance of an outcome, we do not believe politicizing the discussion or media speculation is constructive to a process that should be guided by a spirit of compromise.” Martin said.
Last year the Property Tax Assessment Board of Review raised the personal property assessed value for GMCH to $253.8 million.
GMCH has filed an appeal with the Indiana Tax Review Board, and no hearing date has been set.
GMCH officials contend the assessed value should be $7.4 million because that is what they paid for the facilities as Delphi emerged from bankruptcy.
Howard County Assessor Jamie Shepherd said the assessed value should be based on the fair market value of the equipment.
• Ken de la Bastide is the Kokomo Tribune enterprise editor