Farmers: Proposed bridge-fund hike could cost thousands

March 29, 2019

It might cost the owner of a $150,000 house a couple of dollars extra a month for the county to increase property taxes to maintain and repair bridges in Allen County and some of its municipalities.

But to county farmers, a proposed property tax increase could cost thousands of dollars a year, several said this morning.

About a half-dozen farmers brought that message to the Allen County commissioners this morning at what was to be a public hearing on a reinstituted Major Bridge Fund.

“As farmers, we have no way to pass that (tax increase) on -- we’re at the mercy of commodity (price) rates and weather,” said farmer Brian Roemke of Harlan.

Roger Hadley, president of the Allen County branch of the Indiana Farm Bureau, said that if the tax were raised to its maximum level, a farmer with 800 to 1,000 acres now paying about 33,000 a year.

The commissioners are not proposing that much of a hike. But, Hadley said, “I really would like you to look at alternative sources” for the funds.

Because of a publishing error, the county has rescheduled the public hearing on the measure. The hearing will take place at the commissioners’ 10 a.m. meeting April 23.

But all testimony given today will be added to the official record, as will any correspondence received, Nelson Peters, president of commissioners, told those who attended this morning.