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3/7/2012 10:02:00 AM
Early damage report: $139 million in Clark County

Braden Lammers, News and Tribune

JEFFERSONVILLE — Early estimates from the Clark County Assessor’s office have placed Friday's tornado damage at more than $139 million.

The Clark County Assessor ’s office, along with 39 Degrees North — which provides online mapping and property value service to the county — used the service to estimate the damage caused by the storms.

Assessor Vicky Kent-haire said 39 Degrees North used information reported from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to determine the path of the tornadoes that struck the northern portions of Clark County to provide a guess at the damage to property. The path of the tornado was intersected with Clark County parcels along with a one-mile buffer around the estimated path, according to an email from Chris Walls, with 39 Degrees North.

The assessor’s office then used the 2011 values of the property in parts of Monroe township, Oregon township, Washington township and Wood township in its path to determine how much damage may have been caused to the properties. Kent-haire said the 2011 assessed values of the property was $657 million. It is believed 1,720 properties in the county were damaged by the tornadoes and the damage estimate was placed at $139 million.

She added that the number is a very early estimate and the assessor’s office will be required to investigate each property damaged.

“This has just been a quick pass,” she said.

For individuals affected by the tornado, a disaster petition is available to provide some relief on future property taxes. Kent-haire said if a person’s property was damaged, the petition will allow the individual to get a new tax bill, so they will not be fully taxed on the value of the property.

If they lost barn, home or other property, it will be adjusted accordingly, but property owners will still owe for land, she said.

The assessor’s office is providing a “petition for survey and reassessment — real and personal property partially or totally destroyed by disaster” form for those affected by the storms.

Kent-haire said residents will have up to four to five months to return the forms and that photos of the property should be attached to the returned forms. She added that forms will be available at the Henryville Community Center, the Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Marysville Fire Department.

Kent-haire said, however, that the change in value will not affect this year’s property tax bills.

“People are going to get this tax bill and they ’ re going to assume that they’re not going to owe that, but they will because it’s as the property was as of 2011,” she said.

Kent-haire explained the reassessment will be adjusted on next year’s tax bills because the system runs a year behind.

“It’s terrible that they’re going to get that, but we pay taxes a year in arrears, so it’s what that property was in 2011,” she said.

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