I-Team 8

Some Marion County homeowners see property taxes triple after assessments

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Property taxes for thousands of Marion County residents have skyrocketed. In some cases, taxes have tripled.

The increase in property taxes is concentrated in and around the Fountain Square area. That area has experienced a lot of redevelopment over the past couple years, leading to higher home sale prices and now higher taxes.

And right in the middle of all the redevelopment sits Esperanza Alonzo’s house. She is a lawyer and moved to the Fountain Square area 10 years ago. Her most recent property tax bill caught her by surprise. 

“I used to pay about less than $1,000 a year and now I’m paying more, almost $3,000 for one of the properties,” said Alonzo. 

When her property tax bill came in the mail a few weeks ago, she called the assessor’s office and asked for an explanation. This week, she met with the assessor’s office.  

“The only explanation is basically they can do it, and they say that they were kind of of behind on taxes. So I told them that because you were slipping on it, we have to pay for it. They just say that property values have gone up,” said Alonzo. 

I-Team 8’s Richard Essex called the Marion County assessor, Joe O’Connor, for an explanation.

O’Connor said the law requires his office to assess a quarter of the county every year. Property taxes are determined in part by a combination of home sale prices in a particular area along with the number of permits issued for new construction or renovation.  

Alonzo says the assessed value of her house in 2020 was $80,000. The new assessment is $220,000. Home values in her neighborhood have been going up, and she knew an increase was coming eventually.

“Not like this. We knew progressively it was going to go up, but not just like that and especially at that percentage. We see that they are tearing down properties and building new, that makes sense,” said Alonzo. 

Wayne Walker has lived in the Old Southside neighborhood for decades. The tax bills for his house from this year and last have tripled. Walker is retired and has a mortgage on the property. He says the increase in taxes is reflected in a higher monthly mortgage payment. Walker’s house is in an area of Indianapolis that has seen tremendous redevelopment. 

“I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of our politicians. I don’t think they stop to consider how this would impact people, especially in this neighborhood. This is not an affluent neighborhood; lot of people are on fixed incomes,” said Walker. 

The assessed value of his house has almost doubled, but that has not been the case for other houses in the neighborhood. Walker has called the assessor’s office for an explanation and hadn’t heard back as of Thursday afternoon.

The assessor told I-Team 8 that not all reassessment is perfect, and sometimes the assessed value is not reflective of the property. Property owners can file appeals with the assessor’s office. 

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