WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A state agency has scheduled a public hearing for Wabash Township citizens to address a proposed tax increase.
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance ensures whether property tax assessment and local government budgeting are carried out in accordance with Indiana law.
The agency announced this week a virtual public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 17 to review Wabash Township's budgets, tax rates and tax levies for the 2021 year, payable in 2022.
The prospect of a property tax increase looms as a funding measure for the township's fire department.
The Wabash Township had three paid firefighters before Trustee Jennifer Teising fired the individuals in June 2021. Teising announced during the Nov. 9 board meeting that the openings would be posted for anyone to apply, and the process would not consist of rehiring those fired.
A property tax increase could fund an additional four paid firefighters. According to a slide Teising presented during the Nov. 9 meeting, the compensation for a total of seven fire department employees would be $333,000.
State funding available to the township could absorb about $220,000, Teising said. A property tax increase would pay for the rest.
The Dec. 17 hearing will be held electronically through Microsoft Teams, the state agency announced, and instructions on how to access the electronic hearing will be made available on the Department’s website homepage, www.in.gov/dlgf.
"Taxpayers shall have the right to be heard on the budget, tax rates, and tax levies adopted by Wabash Township for all of its funds," the announcement stated.
Taxpayers who reside in the township who would like to provide testimony must submit a request to Deputy General Counsel David Marusarz at firstname.lastname@example.org. The request must express an intent to testify at the hearing and must be received no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 16.
In June 2021, Teising laid off the three paid firefighters serving Wabash Township, months after the three township board members voted no confidence in the trustee.
In December 2020, a Journal & Courier investigation detailed that Teising was living in Florida while serving as trustee. The Journal & Courier assigned a USA Today Network photographer in Florida to go where a social media app pin-pointed her location.
Teising has unwittingly allowed an individual in the township to track her location through the social media application.
The trustee has since been indicted by a grand jury on 21 felony counts of theft, allegedly reflecting the 21 paychecks she received while living outside of the township. She faces a bench trial on Dec. 13 and 14.
Deanna Watson is the executive editor at the Journal & Courier. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @deannawatson66.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: State agency schedules hearing on proposed Wabash Township tax increase