Homestead exemption must be verified
All homeowners should check with the auditor’s office to make sure they still have their homestead exemption. All homeowners in Indiana will lose this exemption if they haven’t refiled since 2009.
As an example, if you live in Allen County, Perry Township, and your tax rate is 3.6386 percent, a $45,000 exemption will save you $1,637.37 a year in property taxes. In Lake Township the savings would be $1,033.92.
Your current tax bill may include the exemption, but you could possibly not have it for the coming year. It’s very important to check to make sure the exemption is in place before the end of the year. This can be done on line for Allen County homeowners at www.allencounty.us/homesteads-without-verification.
JOHN R. BANET President, Lake Township Board Fort Wayne
Social Security ‘fix’ not a permanent one
The big fix to Social Security in 1983 was a long-overdue wakeup call. However, the big fix was not a fix at all, but a big Band-Aid that was projected to be twice the problem in 2064 than it was in 1983. Today, SSA sends a statement to workers identifying their potential– not guaranteed – benefits and states that starting in some year, SSA can pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits under current law.
Current law prohibits transferring general revenues to any trust fund. In simple terms, both Social Security and Medicare require a balanced budget.
When the ratio of trust fund to projected expenses reaches 30 percent, the cost-of-living adjustment is reduced and when this ratio reaches 20 percent, COLA is zero. In addition, a portion of each year’s payroll tax will need to be deposited into their respective trust funds to maintain this ratio at 20 percent. This will lead to gradual reduction in benefits of about 0.4 percent a year for about 35 years. When equilibrium is reached, the payable benefit will be about 60 percent of scheduled benefits without COLA, and it will stay at this level until either birth rates increase or decrease further.
The effect on workers and future beneficiaries of Congress attempting to save Social Security and Medicare will only legislate what already was legislated to happen in 1984. The can is going to be kicked down the road or repackaged into a new can and the bill given to future workers to pay for.
WILLIAM LARSEN Fort Wayne
Collaboration will produce a better street project
Tracy Warner’s Failure to communicate (Nov. 18) reveals the sad situation that develops when officials make key decisions marred by failure to communicate properly with constituents. Fort Wayne is experiencing such a dilemma regarding traffic planning issues along West State Boulevard.
The Federal Highway Administration will provide the larger portion of funds required, but City Council must approve the plan and provide a smaller share of funds before the federal funds are released.
The Federal Highway Administration is committed to CSS (Context Sensitive Solutions), a general approach calling for collaborative, community-based interdisciplinary goal setting and project development in transportation projects. This is where the process has broken down as many members of local neighborhood associations believe they were left out of the process.
Following CSS guidelines supports city efforts to achieve federal funding and does not threaten federal funding in any way. City Council should not be pressured to make a hasty decision.
City Council needs to appoint qualified constituents along with staff to form a planning group. That group must present a plan that will solve transportation problems and respond to social, economic and environmental goals. Public collaboration can result in a project in which citizens will be proud and prove that they can work together to solve difficult problems.
LORRAINE H. WEIER Fort Wayne