The Department of Local Government Finance is responsible for ensuring property tax assessment and local government budgeting are carried out in accordance with Indiana law. The Department is charged with publishing property tax assessment rules and annually reviewing and approving the tax rates and levies of every political subdivision in the state, including all counties, cities, towns, townships, school corporations, libraries, and other entities with tax levy authority.
The mission of the Department is to ensure a fair and equitable property tax system for Indiana taxpayers.
1. Put taxpayers first.
2. Respect local control.
3. Excellence in all that we do.
Wesley R. Bennett
Before Governor Holcomb appointed Wes Bennett as the Commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance, he served twelve years as the elected Clerk-Treasurer of the Town of Plainfield. In his capacity as the fiscal officer, he managed the financial arm of the Town. This role included budgeting, fiscal analysis, asset and investment portfolios, internal auditing and controls, payroll, payables and utility accounts receivables.
In addition to his fiscal role, Bennett was responsible for all record-keeping for the town. This included the collection, recording and retention of Town Council Ordinances and Resolutions, maintaining the municipal code and certifying town documents. Wes worked closely with the general public on behalf of the Town Council to supply combined constituent services. The Clerk-Treasurer is statutorily authorized to officiate weddings. Wes is proud to have officiated the wedding of his son and daughter-in-law.
Wes’ previous work experience includes banking, insurance, specific investments, residential mortgage lending and retail sales. In his most recent role, he worked on the development and training of standard operating procedures, internal controls, investing and safe-guarding public funds, asset management and capital funding of infrastructure projects across the spectrum of local government services: roads, utilities, parks and recreation, and public safety.
During his twelve years in office, Wes worked with elected and appointed officials on issues facing every level of local government, including townships, libraries, schools, cities and towns as well as the county and state. These issues include E911 and public safety funding, training and continuing education, internal controls, compliance and reporting requirements, capital funding and operations.
During his tenure, Bennett served in several leadership capacities within the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks & Treasurers (ILMCT) as well as with AIM; Accelerate Indiana’s Municipalities. Those roles included Co-chair of the ILMCT legislative committee; member of the education committee and past Secretary/Treasurer and
current ILMCT Vice President. He was a member of the AIM Board of Directors; chairman of the public safety committee; member of the legislative committee, and a member of the finance committee. He was also appointed by Governor Mike Pence to serve as AIM’s representative to the Statewide 911 Board.
Born in Anderson and raised in Plainfield, Wes is a graduate of Plainfield High School. He has spent numerous hours as a local volunteer serving youth sports organizations, as well as serving Meals on Wheels. Wes is a member of the American Legion Post 145, in Avon, and the Plainfield Fraternal Order of Police. Wes and Suzy Bennett have been married for thirty two years, and they attend Plainfield Christian Church. They have two adult sons, Ryan and Brendon (Stephanie) and two beautiful grandsons, Jaxson and Parker.
Deputy Commissioner & Chief of Staff
Matthew serves the Department of Local Government Finance as Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff.
Matthew joined the Department in February 2014 as Director of Data Analysis and CFO. In that capacity, he directed the Department’s Gateway, data compliance, and software certification efforts. Matthew was promoted to Deputy Commissioner in November 2015 and named Chief of Staff in January 2018. In his current role, he works closely with the Department’s management team and staff to execute on the Department’s statutory responsibilities and to deliver on the Commissioner’s vision for the agency. Matthew is in frequent contact with local officials and regularly presents on local government taxation matters to groups throughout the state.
Before joining the Department, Matthew was a senior associate in KPMG LLP’s State and Local Government Technology Enablement Solutions practice. At KPMG, Matthew served clients throughout the Midwest and South on engagements spanning enterprise architecture design, technology implementation, and federal and state grant compliance management,
Matthew earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He is a Certified Public Accountant. Matthew and his wife Kristie live in Perry Township, Marion County, and attend Irvington Presbyterian Church on Indianapolis’s Eastside, where Matthew is an Elder. Outside of the office, Matthew enjoys trips to Wrigley Field to watch his beloved Chicago Cubs and to Assembly Hall in Bloomington for IU basketball games.
Daniel joined the Department of Local Government Finance in September of 2017 as the General Counsel. The Legal Division provides guidance to the department regarding property tax assessments, local government budgeting, and other legal matters.
Prior to joining the Department, Daniel was Chief Counsel for the Advisory Division of the Indiana Office of Attorney General under former Attorney General Greg Zoeller. In his capacity as Chief Counsel, Daniel managed 15 advisory attorneys and 2 support staff members. He guided internal general counsel efforts and directed the Office’s work relating to advisory counsel, advisory opinions, administrative rules, public records, and administrative adjudication for state governmental clients including the Governor’s Office, legislature, and executive agencies. Previously, Daniel was the Managing Partner of a small Indianapolis law firm and worked in multiple management rolls for the City of Indianapolis under former Mayor Greg Ballard.
Daniel received his Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2008 and is licensed to practice law in Indiana and Kansas. He is also a 2001 graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Daniel is a former Captain in the United States Army and recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for action taken during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Assessment Division Director
Barry Wood serves as the Assessment Division Director for the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. He and his staff of assessment experts oversee real property assessments in the state, including the assessment of large industrial facilities and public utility properties. He is also responsible for overseeing training for the state’s 13 Township Assessors and 92 County Assessors and their staff.
Prior to joining the Department in 2005, Mr. Wood served as a Practice Group Specialist with the law firm Ice Miller in Indianapolis. He has served as an elected township assessor (Washington Township, Marion County) and as an appointed deputy assessor in Marion County. Mr. Wood has also served with the Indiana Department of Labor.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Purdue University, and Masters in Business Administration from Butler University. Mr. Wood is a Level III State Certified Assessor/Appraiser; a Certified Tax Representative; and he has a Real Estate Broker’s License.
Fred Van Dorp
Budget Division Director
Fred Van Dorp is originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management in 2004.
After graduation and a short stint with the Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC, Fred came back to Indiana to work in State government. His first position was with the Indiana Department of Transportation in their Fiscal Analysis and Reporting Division. He was part of the team that helped to implement Peoplesoft Financials in the agency. After INDOT, Fred worked at the Auditor of the State’s office where he managed the State’s $5.6 billion fixed asset inventory and participated in 1099 reporting. Later he transitioned to the role of Settlement Director where he would provide support to the State’s 92 county auditors and their staff prior their submission of the county property tax abstract and distribution property tax settlements.
In January 2017, Fred joined the Department of Local Government as the Budget Division Director.
When not at work, Fred is an avid billiards and softball player.
Communications Division Director
Jenny Banks serves as the Communications Director for the Department of Local Government Finance. She joined the Department in 2012.
She works closely with all divisions to ensure clear communications with taxpayers and taxing units. In addition, Jenny serves as the media contact for the Department working with various media outlets. She also oversees the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program.
Prior joining the Department, Jenny served as the Director of Communications and Education Programs for PIA of Indiana. She was responsible for developing and implementing a multi-faceted marketing plan as well as coordinating over 20 education designation programs, the annual convention for PIA of Indiana, and the annual golf outing. Jenny has also served as the Vice President of Chamber Operations and Marketing with the Fishers Chamber of Commerce. During her time with the Fishers Chamber of Commerce, she was responsible for all aspects of organization management, event planning, and strategic planning.
Jenny earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University in Communications. She is a Level II Certified Indiana Assessor-Appraiser and has completed the Institute for Organizational Management program by the US Chamber of Commerce.
Data Analysis Division Director
James Johnson serves as the Director of the Data Analysis Division within the Department of Local Government Finance. The Data Analysis Division critically analyzes and certifies the functionality of software systems and data used in the property tax management process, assists in providing this data to the public, and provides efficient and effective customer service support of the Department’s Gateway applications.
James joined the Department in March 2012 with his initial focus as the project lead for the testing and certification process of property tax management systems used by all 92 counties in Indiana. During this process, James travelled to all 92 counties, visiting with staff in the offices of the county assessors and county auditors. In the intervening years, James’ portfolio has grown to encompass overseeing the Department’s data compliance processes and Gateway customer service support in conjunction with the outstanding efforts of the members of the Data Analysis Division. Before joining the Department, James worked as a Budget Analyst in the controller’s office for the City of Indianapolis for five years, partnering with both city departments and county agencies to help formulate their annual budgets and address budgetary concerns throughout each fiscal year. He began his public sector career with the Indiana Department of Commerce (now the Indiana Economic Development Corporation) in the Region 12 office in New Albany, Indiana.
James earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wabash College in 2002 and his Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2007. Additionally, he studied abroad in Paris, France during the Spring 2001 semester. He is a Level III Certified Indiana Assessor-Appraiser and has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology’s Technology Leadership and Communication Department.
Chief Information Officer - Information Services Division
Geoff Kuester joined the Department in 2012 as a programmer of web applications and databases and now serves as Chief Information Officer, leading the Information Systems Division.
The Information Systems Division is committed to in-house technology solutions with an iterative, agile government approach. The IS team is responsible for the maintenance and development of the Department’s Gateway modules. They also develop business intelligence tools used by Department staff, assist with administering the Department’s various databases, and support the technology needs of the Department field staff.
Geoff’s first responsibilities at the Department involved the development of new and revised reporting modules on Gateway, and in 2013 he began supporting annual updates to the Gateway Budget application, which was originally piloted by the Department in 2010. In 2014 Geoff led the development of the Gateway Budget Notices system, which leverages several of the Department’s key data assets and the State’s Geographical Information Library. Between 2015 and 2017 Geoff served as the Assistant Director, and then Director, of the Data Analysis Division. The Information Systems Division was created in 2018 to reorganize the Department’s software and IT endeavors.
Geoff graduated in 2010 from Miami University, in Oxford Ohio, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He held an internship with Shoreline School District in Seattle, Washington, building in-house inventory tracking software for their IT Department. In 2011, Geoff moved to Indianapolis to serve for a year in Americorps*VISTA, where he worked with the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and the Indiana Interchurch Center. His work there included developing a database of services and resources available to refugees resettled in Indiana, as well as establishing a media archive and modern online presence for the organizations.
A former coach of Naptown Roller Derby, Geoff also skates as a member of the Race City Rebels, and lives with his wife Betsy in Center Township, Marion County.
Limited Personal Use of State Property/Resources - July 1, 2015
DLGF Ethics Policy - April 16, 2018