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02/12/2006 Archived Entry: "House value 'causes' layoffs"
This is hilarious! And a true story to boot. A house erroneously valued at $400 million is being blamed for budget shortfalls and possible layoffs in municipalities and school districts in northwest Indiana. An outside user of Porter County's computer system may have triggered the mess by accidentally changing the value of the Valparaiso house, said Sharon Lippens, director of the county's information technologies and service department. The house had been valued at $121,900 before the glitch. County Treasurer Jim Murphy said the home usually carried about $1,500 in property taxes; this year, it was billed $8 million. The homeowner, Dennis Charnetzky, declined to comment about the situation. Most local officials did not learn about the mistake until Tuesday, when 18 government taxing units were asked to return a total of $3.1 million of tax money. As a result, the school system has a $200,000 budget shortfall, and the city loses $900,000. City leaders said the error could cause layoffs and cost-cutting measures."