Talk about sticker shock. More than a quarter-million homeowners in Marion County have seen a huge jump in storm water fees. According to the Marion County Treasurer's Office, the average hike is 113%. (Just under 37,000 homeowners saw rates drop, an average of 11%.)
That news has flooded the treasurer's office with more than 2,500 calls the last two days and hundreds of walk-ins.
It began after property owners got a second property tax bill this week. Storm water fees are tacked on to the spring bill, but since the new rates didn't take effect until July 1, a second bill was required.
The rate changes were approved by the City-County Council and mayor last fall to help pay for upgrades and improvements to the city's aging storm water system.
Instead of paying a flat $2.25 a month, the new rate is based on the amount of impervious surface a homeowner has.
Last month, Department of Public Works Spokesman Brian Easley told us "impervious surface is anything rain has to run off of. That includes a home, garage, driveway, sidewalk, patio, deck and pool. The more impervious space a homeowner has, the more he or she will pay.
Anthony Hoffman was one of the homeowners who saw his bill spike to $12.10 a month or "six months higher." Seeing how much more he was paying, he half-jokingly said, "wow, I should tear out my driveway."
Officials in the treasurer's office said most of the calls were from people wondering why they were getting a second bill and why their rates had gone up.
"We did advise them last spring that this would be happening, but I don't know if they just did not anticipate that. Our phones are very busy right now," said Cindy Land, stressing, "the treasurer is merely the collector, the treasurer is not who established those rates."In his last few months in office, Ballard has been busy beating the bushes talking to folks his administration has handsomely rewarded with your taxpayer dollars, reminding them they better not forget what he's done for them as he goes in search of his post-mayoral lucre. A prison cell in the Terre Haute federal penitentiary is the only appropriate spot for this man to land after the way he's raped and plundered the City of Indianapolis during his eight years in office.