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Speedway Pub. Library v. Ind. Dept. of Local Gov't Fin.

Tax Court of Indiana

June 24, 2014

THE SPEEDWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY, Petitioner,
v.
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE, Respondent

ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE.

ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: ROBERT B. LUTZ, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Speedway, IN.

ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA, JONATHAN E. LAMB, JOHN P. LOWREY, DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN.

OPINION

FISHER, Senior Judge.

The Speedway Public Library has asked this Court to overturn the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance's (DLGF) final determination rejecting the appropriations and levies associated with its 2011 budget. Upon review, however, the Court affirms the DLGF's final determination.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In July of 2010, the Library formulated its estimated budget for 2011. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 2-9.) On July 14, 2010, and

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then again on July 21, 2010, the Library published notice that on August 4, 2010, it would conduct a public hearing on that estimated budget and the associated tax rates. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 10, 189-94.) The notice also provided that the Library would then " adopt" its budget at a meeting scheduled for August 17, 2010. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 10, 189-94.) During the August 17th meeting, the Library issued resolutions that appropriated monies out of certain funds consistent with the terms of its estimated budget. (Compare Cert. Admin. R. at 2-6 with 11-13.) No member of the public, however, attended either the August 4th hearing or the August 17th meeting. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 85-86.)

The Library submitted its budget to the Speedway Town Council. On September 13, 2010, at a regularly scheduled meeting, the Town Council issued a resolution that " approve[d] and adopt[ed] the final Operating and Maintenance Budgets and Tax Levies of the [Library] as submitted." (Cert. Admin. R. at 19.) The Library's budget was then forwarded to the DLGF.

In January of 2011, the DLGF issued a 1782 Notice stating that it could not approve the Library's 2011 budget because no notice complying with Indiana Code § 6-1.1-17-3 had been provided to the public regarding the Town Council's September 13th adoption meeting. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 77, 81-84, 185-88.) As a result, the DLGF reinstituted the appropriations and levies associated with the Library's 2010 budget. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 77, 81.)

The Library subsequently requested the DLGF to set aside its determination, but the DLGF rejected the request. (Cert. Admin. R. at 81-87, 188.) On March 17, 2011, the Library initiated this original tax appeal. The Court conducted oral argument on February 13, 2012. Additional facts will be supplied when necessary.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Library, in challenging the propriety of the DLGF's final determination, bears the burden of demonstrating its invalidity. See Brown v. Dept. Local Gov't Fin., 989 N.E.2nd 386, 388 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2013). Thus, it must demonstrate to the Court that the DLGF's final determination is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of ...


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