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Rep. Vernon Smith township assessor amendments fail in committee

State Rep.Vernon G. Smith

State Rep.Vernon G. Smith

In the wake of a bill to eliminate township assessors, Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) proposed two amendments to House Bill 1035 that were ultimately voted down in the Local Government Committee. HB 1035 would put the question of whether counties with a township assessor should retain or abolish the office before voters in November 2024.

Amendment 1 would have clarified the question being posed to voters by simplifying and including in the question that the township assessor position would be abolished.

Amendment 2 would have allowed only members of a township in question to vote on if their township’s assessor should be abolished, as opposed to the whole county voting.

“I am frustrated that my amendments were not incorporated into HB 1035,” said Smith. “As one of the few representatives whose home district still has township assessors, I had hoped that my insight into them would not fall on deaf ears. Township assessors play a large role in my district, and should they be abolished in favor of only county assessors, I fear what remains will become overburdened and ineffective in my community.”

Overall, Smith had the following to say regarding the legislation:

“Let the townships decide. Years ago, townships voted to decide if they no longer needed their individual assessor, and cities in my home district like Gary voted to keep them. To this day, none of the townships that still have their assessor have asked for this change. So, let the will of the people ring true to this day, and let our communities keep their township assessors.”

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