Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Hinkle Bill Eliminates Marion County Townships
Rep. Phil Hinkle's HB 1341 will bring an end to township government in Marion County. Responsibilities of the township trustee will be transferred to the county. Indianapolis' mayor will be charged with appointing a person to coordinate the delivery of social services previously handled by the township trustees. Township small claims courts will be replaced by five county small claims courts. Judges of the small claims court will be appointed by the mayor to 6-year terms. The township constables for the small claims courts will also be eliminated. Personally, I would prefer that a merit selection system be implemented for these small claims court judges as part of a statewide effort to switch from elected judges to a merit selection system. Hinkle's bill sets maximum tax levies the county can levy to replace the former township tax levies and provides for the redistribution of the township's share of local income tax revenues to the city-county government. It's not clear what, if any, overall tax reduction will occur as a result of these changes. A more complete analysis of the fiscal impact of the legislation will be forthcoming as this legislation progresses.