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Main Street Corydon won’t allow old Keller site taxes to remain on auction block

Property taxes totaling $33,000 are delinquent on numerous parcels that make up the old Keller Manufacturing Co. site in Corydon, but don’t expect those parcels to remain on the public auction block coming up Oct. 6.
Main Street Corydon, a non-profit agency, owns the property, and the board wasn’t aware that papers had to be filed in the auditor’s office to exempt the property from taxes, said Floyd (Bud) Bennett, president of Main Street Corydon.
‘This is the first time I’ve been involved in something like this,’ he said. ‘It should never have happened to begin with.
‘When a non-profit buys property, it should automatically be taken off the tax rolls,’ Bennett said.
The property is slated for development once the state has certified that it is clear of pollutants, Bennett said, adding the clean-up project is now out for bids.
On the drawing board are a water park (under roof), conference center, 108-room hotel and 30 to 32 condominums, plus other retail outlets, Bennett said.
‘That is going to generate a lot in taxes,’ he said, adding that it would be in the county’s best economic development interest to forgive the debt. Or to invest in the development from riverboat revenue aimed at economic development.
‘I have, of course, talked to (council chair) Gary Davis, knowing that maybe the county council could do something about this for us,’ Bennett said last week. ‘I understand they could pass a resolution’ to forgive the tax debt.
Davis said yesterday he has discussed the matter with the council attorney, who is concerned that a law passed to allow such a resolution elsewhere in Indiana was declared unconstitutional because the legislation was passed for a single entity.
The council has, on several occasions, allowed businesses that had been granted a tax abatement to file papers late, thus allowing the tax break for the year in question. But that is not as complicated as forgiving the Main Street Corydon taxes because the budgets of each taxing unit were based on receiving those taxes.
‘There are more hoops to jump through,’ Davis said.
Each taxing unit, including county, townships, incorporated towns and the South Harrison school district would have to be refigured, Davis said.
Main Street Corydon may ask the council for riverboat funds from economic development, because, ‘Main Street does not have the money,’ Bennett said.
Auditor Patricia Wolfe said she had no option but to include the property tax bills in the auction.
Three consecutive property tax bills are delinquent on the Keller site. Initially the bill was unpaid by Keller and when Main Street Corydon bought the property, the tax obligation came with it.
Two payments have gone unpaid since then, she said.
Wolfe said her office checked to see if a petition to correct an error could be filed, but that isn’t possible. That can only be done if, 1) the taxes are illegal, 2) the assessment is calculated on incorrect information or, 3) the state or county fails to give credit for an exemption or deduction permitted by law. Since no exemption was requested, there is no appeal process, Wolfe said.
Now, with penalties and tax sale costs added to the tax bill on each of the parcels, the total due is $37,004, she said.
‘We’re going to have a meeting next week and talk about it,’ Bennett said. ‘It would only be normal for the county to use economic development money to pay the tax and recoup it through the taxes coming in through development of the property.’