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Harrison GOP chair disputes residency claim

Larry Shickles, chair of the Harrison County Republican Central Committee, Ninth District chair of the Indiana Republican Party, and chair of the Harrison County Park Dept.’s board of directors, no longer gets a homestead exemption on his property taxes in Harrison County because he reportedly doesn’t live here.
Auditor Pat Wolfe said she recently learned that Shickles and his wife, Remedio, live in Mitchell in Lawrence County and receive a homestead and mortgage exemption there, which was applied for in November 1998.
The homestead exemption has been removed from property the couple owns in Depauw, Wolfe said, but he is still allowed one-half of the mortgage exemption because the Depauw property is held in both his and his wife’s name while the Lawrence County property is in his wife’s name only.
Shickles disputes the auditor’s claims. ‘She says I’m not a resident. That’s not true. Pat Wolfe called Lawrence County on her own. She decided that the Lawrence County exemption would stay on and the Harrison County exemption would stay off.’
Wolfe said Shickles told her recently that he thought the exemption had been dropped ‘a long time ago.’
Shickles said he was referring to the Lawrence County exemption.
Last year’s homestead exemption, which amounts to a little more than $500, will be added to the tax bill, Wolfe said.
Edith Davis, vice chair of the Harrison County Republican Central Committee, said she inquired at the state level and was told there are no written rules requiring a person to live in the county for which he or she serves as the party chair.
Political parties are not part of government and so the same rules don’t apply, said Harrison County attorney Christopher Byrd.
Neither is there a residency requirement to serve on a park board.
Shickles was appointed to the park board in 1999. He has previously said he lived in Depauw during the week and stayed with his wife at Mitchell on weekends. And that is what he still claims.
‘I do not intend to change my residence,’ he said. ‘Lawrence County is not permanent. It’s just that for the time being, we’re keeping both houses.’
Byrd said the 1965 ordinance establishing the park board does not include a residency requirement, and neither does the new ordinance in 1982 that changed the board to six members.

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