February 2, 2024
The Big Issues
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE
- Several bills relating to local government finance passed this week. Aim continues to work with these bill authors to improve the problematic elements of these bills as they move through the process.
- HB 1120, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), raises the threshold for excess levy growth appeals from 2% to 4% in excess of statewide AV growth and also prevents properties from being removed and then subsequently added back into TIF districts.
- HB 1121, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), adds a new local income expenditure rate for acute care hospitals at the county level and clarifies the way local income tax is distributed when local taxing units merge.
- SB 147, authored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), exempts employer-owned childcare facilities from property taxes.
- HB 1328, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw), allows additional appropriations to be advertised via Gateway and reinstates homestead deductions for homes owned by trusts or LLCs.
- Each of these bills are expected to move out of their respective chambers in the first half of session and discussion on these provisions will continue through the end of session.
- HB 1329 would prevent a health department from requiring inspections of a property’s septic system when there is a sale or transfer of the property. HB 1352 only allows inspections of septic systems after installation if required by the manufacturer, requested by the owner, required by federal or another state law, or if there is a complaint filed with the health department.
- Each of these bills represent a trend in the legislature of reducing the ability of health departments to manage septic systems in their communities at a time when public health and utility best practices are moving toward sanitary sewer connections. Aim is monitoring these bills and working with stakeholders to communicate the importance of protecting the health and safety of communities.
- HB 1352, authored by Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne), and HB 1329, authored by Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), each passed the House 82-14.
- SB 135 would provide another window for local governments to redistrict or recertify their districts if they had not already done so after the 2020 census. This would extend the deadline until June 30, 2025. However, if the districts are not certified by then the elected representatives on those local boards would not be allowed to receive their salary until they certify new district maps.
- Aim supports the extension of the redistricting deadline for those communities that still need it and will work to support local units to help meet this requirement and avoid any punitive action proscribed by the bill.
- SB 135, authored by Sen. Mike Gaskill (R-Pendleton), passed the Senate with a vote of 49-0.
MOBILE AND MANUFACTURED HOMES
- HB 1320 ensures that the state’s unsafe building law applies to mobile and manufactured homes. It also clarifies that mobile and manufactured homes are subject to the residential design standards of the unit’s planning and zoning ordinance.
- Aim has been working with the bill author to improve existing language that creates ambiguity around the authority of cities and towns to regulate the zoning of mobile and manufactured homes. Clarifying this language is one of Aim’s legislative initiatives.
- HB 1320, authored by Rep. Alex Zimmerman (R-North Vernon), passed the House 92-0.
- New training requirements for local fiscal officers were added by law during the 2023 session. SB 221 clarifies that city clerks, who are not the fiscal officers of cities, are not subject to these training requirements.
- This issue came to Aim’s attention while conducting these trainings over the summer and the city clerks requested this change. Aim worked with the bill author to make this clarification.
- SB 221, authored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee 14-0 on Tuesday, January 30.
MARKET STREET TO MAIN STREET LEGISLATIVE PODCAST
Listen to more about this week on the fourth episode of the Market Street to Main Street Podcast Series, Aim’s legislative episodes of the Hometown Innovations Podcast and a supplement to this e-newsletter. In this episode, Jennifer, Matt, and Jenna discuss bills that are no longer moving forward, property taxes, and the upcoming Aim Legislative Dinner.
To listen to Market Street to Main Street, please visit The Terminal post and click the “play button” on the audio player. Or you can subscribe to Aim Hometown Innovations Podcast on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.
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