Monday, June 2, 2014

Star Press Reports Property Crucial in Assessor Primary Forgotten Now

From the Muncie Star-Press:

Some of the all-time greatest anecdotes about political feuds came to light years or even decades after the fact, so maybe we’re not totally pushing the limits of time and reader interest by telling you an after-the-fact tidbit about the bitter Republican Party primary for Delaware County assessor, all the way back on May 6.

If you remember, challenger Steve Fields, looking to upset incumbent James Carmichael and win the GOP nomination, purchased a parcel of land in Muncie late last year, just a few weeks before he filed his declaration of candidacy. Under Indiana law, assessors must own property.

Fields bought the Edgewood Drive lot from Tom Terry, a local businessman who supported Fields’ candidacy and has had a years-long feud with Carmichael. Fields paid $100 for the land.

A few days after voters overwhelmingly chose Carmichael as their nominee, the spring installment of property taxes was due and, according to county records, Fields failed to pay the taxes on the parcel. Records show that $51 in taxes and a $10 ditch assessment were still due as of late afternoon Friday.

An admission: After this strident, often unpleasant campaign, those of us at The Walker/Roysdon Report were not enthused when word of the delinquent state of Fields’ property taxes last week rolled like a tsunami through the Delaware County Building.

There was discussion, sincere in nature, about passing the hat here and coming up with the $51 to pay Fields’ taxes for the public good, hoping that doing so would spare the community — and its political columnists — from even more antagonism between those warring camps.

It was ultimately decided that doing so would set too dangerous a precedent. If W/R gives one political figure $51, we would likely be obligated to give everyone a similar amount. And some might misconstrue the gesture as an endorsement of frequent candidate Fields’ next campaign.

At this rate, we can only wonder if taxes go unpaid on Fields’ property long enough, maybe Terry will have the opportunity to purchase the parcel once again in a tax sale.