There is a tremendous difference in gross and net amounts and there is a tremendous difference in the amount of assessed valuation calculated by the county assessor's office (gross) and the amount calculated by the county auditor's office (net.)

Property tax assessments affect how much tax revenue the county receives. The higher the assessments, the more revenue received, as a general rule.

There are two sets of numbers being given to county council candidates.

At the April 24 candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Chamber of Commerce, County Council candidate Neil Barclay announced he had been told by the Montgomery County auditor, Michelle Cash, assessed valuation of property in Montgomery County had dropped by $50 million in the past year.

Cash subsequently confirmed that amount to The Paper of Montgomery County.

On Saturday, County Councilman Richard Chastain, who is running for re-election, said that amount had been announced earlier in a county council meeting as well.

However, that information did not take into account the big picture, said County Assessor Chief Deputy Sherri Bentley on Wednesday.

According to Bentley, the gross assessed valuation for Montgomery County has increased by $46 million.

That amount was stated by county council candidate Lynne Ringis during the debate Tuesday night, sponsored by The Paper.

On Thursday, we spoke with Cash who said the assessor's office and the auditor's office use different reports.

"Both numbers were correct," Cash said. "The assessor uses gross and we use net."

While the assessor produces a gross assessed value report, the auditor's report takes into account more than 20 exemptions for items such as owners being over 65, blind, disabled, having the property for investment, fertilizer/pesticides, being a non-profit organization, and such things as being a World War I veteran or his spouse.

The auditor's report takes into account deductions, exemptions, manual assessed valuation changes and appeals, Cash said.

Can Montgomery County expect more tax revenue in the year ahead? It appears the final answer is not yet known and won't be known until the tax totals are certified by the state and the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance approves the county budget.