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Department of Local Government Finance

DLGF > Referendum Information > Controlled Project Referendum Controlled Project Referendum

What Is a Controlled Project Referendum?

A “controlled project” generally encompasses any project financed by bonds or a lease.

The petition and remonstrance process only applies to the following controlled projects:

- An elementary school building, middle school building, high school building, or other school building for academic instruction that will be used for any combination of kindergarten through grade 12 and will not cost more than $10,000,000.

- Any other controlled project that will not cost the political subdivision more than the lesser of $12,000,000 or 1% of the total gross AV of property within the political subdivision on the last assessment date, if that amount is at least $1,000,000.

The local public question/referendum process only applies to the following controlled projects:

- An elementary school building, middle school building, high school building, or other school building for academic instruction that will be used for any combination of kindergarten through grade 12 and will cost more than $10,000,000.

- Any other controlled project that will cost the political subdivision more than the lesser of $12,000,000 or 1% of the total gross AV of property within the political subdivision on the last assessment date, if that amount is at least $1,000,000.

Indiana Code 6-1.1-20-3.6 governs the controlled project referendum process. Per IC 6-1.1-20-3.6(d), ballot language for a controlled project referendum must be approved by the Department of Local Government Finance (“Department”) before it may be placed on a ballot. The Department must either approve the ballot language as submitted or recommend that the ballot language be modified as necessary to ensure that the description of the controlled project is accurate and is not biased. The Department is also responsible for determining the tax rate increase that would result if the controlled project is approved. The tax rate determined by the Department must be cited in the ballot question.

The Department must certify its approval or recommendations to the county auditor and the county election board not more than ten days after the proposed question is submitted to the Department for review. If the Department recommends a modification to the ballot language, the county election board must, after reviewing the recommendations of the Department, submit modified ballot language to the Department for its approval or recommendation of any additional modifications.

The public question may not be certified by the county auditor to the county election board for placement on the ballot unless the Department has first certified its final approval of the proposed language.

Indiana Code 6-1.1-20-3.6(j) prohibits the artificial division of a capital project into multiple capital projects for the purpose of avoiding a referendum.

Click HERE to review information on past controlled project referenda.