Indiana-American water rate increase looks like a decrease

IURC Case #45870 was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on February 21, 2024.

The Indiana-American water company rate increase will be implemented in a 3 step process with the last step being implemented in May 2025.

Step 1 - Effective date is February 21,2024.
Step 2 - Anticipated effective date is sometime during May 2024.
Step 3 - Anticipated effective date is during the month of May 2025.

The information below is for a 5/8" water meter - this is the standard size for a residential property.

Base charge - $20 a month
Usage charges - The first 1,500 gallons or 15 bill units (1 unit = 100 gallons) is now included in the base charge (no extra cost)
Step 1 Additional bill units (16 thru 135) is now $1.06262 per 100 gallons
Step 2 Additional bill units (16 thru 135) will be $1.18982 per 100 gallons when implemented in May 2024.
Step 3 Additional bill units (16 thru 135) will be $1.38055 per 100 gallons when implemented in May 2025.
The Public Fire Protection Surcharge (5/8" meter) declined slightly and is now $4.77 per month.
The Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) is now no charge (was previously $7.98 a month)
The System Enhancement Improvements (SEI) is now no charge (was previously $1.07 a month)

The above information was collected and disseminated from public documents located on the IURC website and from newspaper articles available to the general public via the Internet.

There are two attachments at the bottom of the e-mail that provide the majority of information provided above.

On a personal note, a review of my water bill shows that the usage calculation is WRONG.

I have called and spoken with customer service and they were NOT able to provide a logical explanation for the usage being incorrect so it has been escalated to the billing department for review.

The amount in question is less than $5.00 but I told customer service that if this error is multiplied outward then it becomes a much larger sum of money being incorrectly collected. They agreed with me as to this point. They were required to tell me that it could take up to 10 days to resolve but it typically takes less time.

Darin Sherman

BREAKING NEWS regarding the Lake County Land Order

Letter to the DLGF from Miller Citizens' Corp

I am writing to you on behalf of the Miller Citizens Corporation (MCC), a 501c8, 52-year-old neighborhood organization whose newsletter has more than 900 subscribers, the Miller Business Association (MBA), a 501c6 that began in 1946, and Cap All Property Taxes (CAPT), a Political Action Committee.

The MCC sprang into action on April 1, 2004 when we learned our property tax rate would rise to 9% of assessed valuation, mainly because the Indiana State legislation reassessed US Steel's valuation from $248 million to $118 million. We were able to stop the proposal via court action and get an executive order of a temporary 2% cap. Our work in the Indiana legislature resulted in the successful 1%, 2% and 3% property tax caps. CAPT was organized when it became necessary to fight increasing tax burdens such as the wheel tax, the Distressed Unit Appeals Board adding an additional tax for 3 years onto our property tax bills, and the Gary Community School Corporation referendum that will tax us for the next 4 years. The effect of the land order on the referendum, which is over and above the tax caps, will result in a one-two punch to our community, significantly increasing our tax obligations.

Indiana property taxation is supposed to be fair, comparable to like-in-kind neighborhoods and not suddenly excessive and overbearing to the taxpayer. Two comparable neighborhoods that share the amenities of Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park are Ogden Dunes and Dune Acres.

Let's compare base front foot rates with a market factor of 1.00 for these three neighborhoods for 2023/payable 2024.

  • Miller lakefront Neighborhood Code (N.C.) 2512 is proposed to go to $7,100. Ogden Dunes lakefront is $5,460 and Dunes Acres is $3,700.
  • Miller N.C. 2500 with some lake views in a 2-block-deep area is proposed at $3,000. Ogden Dunes on the south side of Shore Drive, all with lake views, is $3,400; the area behind and south of Shore Drive is $1,260. Dune Acres with no lakefront views is $1,300.
  • Miller N.C. 2513 with no lake view is proposed to be $2,000. Similar areas in Ogden Dunes are at $1,260. Dune Acres comparison is $1,300.

The question is: Why are Miller land rates significantly higher than Ogden Dunes and Dune Acres? As I write this in the early morning hours I am startled by hearing gunshots very close by. I later find out my neighbor was being shot at by a car thief in her garage. The Miller community is a section of Gary, Indiana, a City that lacks rudimentary services that most citizens in Indiana take for granted. Miller residents have created a diverse, clean and closely-connected community. Miller community organizations such as the MCC have a large active public safety committee, an education committee of retired teachers working with the dysfunctional Gary Community School Corporation, a local government committee to instill best practices to promote drivable roads, working street lights, animal control, practices to stop illegal contractor dumping, etc. Miller Community Fund, a 501c3 to fund community programs, contracted Cleanslate Chicago to clean 12 miles of our roads on the first Friday of each month for 10 months of the year. The Miller Litter League is a group of age 60+ volunteers who clean 4 miles of roads monthly. The Aquatorium Society raised over $4 million to renovate a 1922 George Maher-designed bathhouse abandoned by the City into a viable event space for area residents that also houses a museum focused on the history of flight. The Miller Garden Club raises funds and rallies volunteers to beautify many City buildings. The Friends of Marquette Park raises funds and works with the City Park Department to do projects in our main park that the City is unable to do for whatever reasons. The Miller Beach Arts and Creative District is the anchor of Lake Street's viability. There are many block clubs that connect neighbors into a network of safety and neighborhood enhancements. These organizations step up when the City does not; Miller has called itself a “do-it-yourself” community for decades. We rely on volunteers and funding from our residents. The burden of these efforts is considered a voluntary tax. When an untenable property tax situation threatens, these organizations are the first to suffer. Residents are forced to consider whether living and paying taxes in this community is still worth it.

Why are we in this increased land value situation when for many years a vacant lot usually ended up on the Lake County tax sale? It is the unintended consequence of the existence of more than 100 short-term rentals in our community. These businesses are not allowed in Ogden Dunes or Dune Acres. Owners of short-term rentals don't care how much the price of the property is as long as it turns a profit for them. Many homeowners now suffer from a business next door; and not only that, promotions to out-of-state land speculators have driven prices paid for lots that have been only seen on Google aerial maps to spectacular levels.

CAPT committee has experience dealing with property tax situations. Our first visit was to the Calumet Township Assessor's office. It is somewhat different than in the past because of a newly elected Assessor. He and his very competent staff were cordial, but suggested that this is a Lake County Land Order and we should meet with Lake County Assessor LaTonya Spearman. Our meeting with Ms. Spearman and her team was very informative. Ironically, Ms. Spearman stated while the Lake County Assessor’s office deals with the land order, the Calumet Township Assessor’s office is responsible for the overall property assessments and their advice is that we and our residents go to the Calumet Township Assessor’s Office. One important item of information we obtained was that we did not have to wait until January to obtain our 2023 property cards. We understand the land order has not been certified but getting access to these property cards gives us something to work with. So far we worked with both Assessors to collect over 100 individual property cards.

At an October 2, 2023 community meeting, Lake County Assessor LaTonya Spearman compared the Land Order land value increases to their eventual effect on total Property Assessment increases. As an example, she stated the following regarding the local neighborhoods:

Neighborhood / Land Value Increase / Property Assessment Increase
N.C. 2512                          101%                     28%
N.C. 2500                          233%                     53%
N.C. 2513                          363%                     66%

We believe the increases the Assessor refers to are 1%-capped properties. We don’t disagree with these figures. However, the homeowner community finds these overall increases exorbitant and overbearing.

The CAPT Committee independently completed a survey of vacant land sales in 2021- 2022. There were no sales in N.C. 2512. For N.C. 2500 we identified 17 vacant land sales with an average calculated price per front foot of $1,752. (See Exhibit 1 attached.) Within N.C. 2513 we identified 22 vacant land sales with an average calculated price per front foot of $1,004. (See Exhibit 2 attached.) In both cases, our calculation is one-half the value the Lake County Assessor proposes.

Our research looked further in the 2%- and 3%-cap categories. We make specific reference to our findings in the 3%-category. For N.C. 2500 we found the average year-over-year tax increase to be 143%-144%. In N.C. 2513 we find it to be an average of 259%. (See Exhibit 3 attached.) This is clear evidence of excessive taxation.

Bottom line: the assessment process is opaque and not readily understood by the taxpayer. To be fair and prevent chaos and civil distress in both taxpayer and assessor employees CAPT requests that DLGF keep the land assessment in N.C. 2512, 2500, 2513, 2514, 2515 and 2516 in the Calumet Township unchanged from the 2022 Lake County land order.


George A. Rogge,
President, Miller Citizens Corporation
Former President, Miller Business Association
Chairperson, Cap All Property Taxes

Exhibit 1 NC 2500 Land Sales
Exhibit 2 NC 2513 Land Sales
Exhibit 3 YOY Tax Increase

Cap All Property Taxes (CAPT)


In 2003, legislation at the state level brought on a property tax crisis for Miller residents. At the same time, Indiana changed the basis of assessing property and reassigned the responsibility for assessing our major industry - US Steel. The result was a huge shift of the property tax burden from industry to individuals, which was especially hurtful in Miller. The MCC saw this as a survival issue for our community. We created the MCC Defense Fund to fight for reasonable taxation. We challenged the constitutionality of the new property tax legislation and won vindication from the Supreme Court, but no redress for injuries. We talked directly with Governor Kernan, and convinced him to institute, through administrative action, the first property tax cap. We have continued to fight vigorously for reduced government spending and a reasonable distribution of the tax burden, and we eventually found allies in the state government to continue and expand the property tax caps.

In the following years the 1% Homeowner, 2% Residential Rental and Farm land and 3% Commercial Indiana tax caps are now in the Indiana Constitution.

Cap All Property Taxes (CAPT) is the MCC's political action committee to keep units of government from overspending and engaging in excessive mismanagement. In recent years there have been three attempts by the Gary Community Schools Corporation to go around the tax caps. We stopped two but lost one to the tune of $9,000,000 the Gary property owners are now paying.

What we have fought

No referendum money needed to fix up buildings. Thanks to the Indiana Legislature, Gary Schools have $470,000 per month for 4 ½ years ($25,000,000+/-). Source: IN Senate Bill 408 as reported in The Times June 26, 2020

No referendum money needed for a slush fund with $4,000,000 from U.S. Steel's one-time payment to schools in lieu of property taxes. Source: The Times, December 19, 2019

No referendum money needed for coronavirus-related expenditures when receiving $4,000,000 through the CARES Act. Source: Indiana Finance Authority FAQs, June 12, 2020

No referendum money needed when Gary schools already get State of Indiana funding of $7,880 per student, local funding of $3,312 per student and Title I funding of $1718 per student, for a total of $12,910 per student. That’s $12,910 X 4,400 students or $56,804,000 per year to support students and even raises for teachers. Source: State of Indiana Department of Education Title I Forecast for the 2020-2021 School Year, IN DOE Form 9

CAPT will CONTINUE to be vigilant to fight any attempt to go around the Indiana Tax Caps.

2020 GCSC Referendum Tax Impact PDF

Donate to CAPT to ensure that your taxes are not increased unnecessarily.

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1130 N. Vigo St., Gary, IN 46403
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Prom 2024
Marquette Park Pavilion
Saturday, February 10, 2024 @ 7 PM

Starting at Miller Town Hall,
Grand Blvd & Miller Ave.
7:00 - 11:00 am
Saturday, May 4, 2024

Monthly Meetings
@ 7:00 pm
Marquette Methodist
Church on Grand Blvd.

the second Monday of every month

Monthly Meetings
@ 7:00 pm
Marquette Methodist
Church on Grand Blvd.

the second Monday of every month