MUNCIE, Ind. - Cary Malchow was so upset by his property tax bill he decided to make a scene by paying it _ all $12,656.07 _ with bags of change and $1 bills.

Malchow lugged the cash-filled bags to the Delaware County treasurer's office Monday and plunked them onto the counter. His unorthodox payment stalled the line as cashiers labored to count it by hand.

"I did it so people can physically see what $12,000 is," said Malchow, who has staged other recent protests to draw attention to Indiana's property tax increases.

Malchow arrived at the treasurer's office about 3:30 p.m., with the money covering the bill for his Muncie home, business and rental properties. It took all three of the office's cashiers 75 minutes to count out the cash.

County Treasurer Warren Beebe said cashiers had to work overtime to count the money, guarded by sheriff's deputies.

"They were fast, they were hustling. They're used to counting money, but of course that left other people standing in line. It was an awkward situation," Beebe said Tuesday.

Beebe said the tax protest also prevented his office from making its daily deposit at a Muncie bank. That cost the county an estimated $1,135.90 in interest that would have otherwise accrued overnight by depositing the property tax payments collected Monday, he said.

Property taxes are a hot topic this summer in many Indiana communities. On average, homeowners can expect a 24 percent increase in their property taxes statewide this year, although many face bills that have spiked higher.

That's led to protests and complaints by residents who call the increases too high.

Malchow said that when people pay by check or by an escrow account through a bank, they might not notice the amount of the bill.

"When you pay in cash, you have a tendency to feel that pain a little more," he said.

Malchow's protest payment came a few days after state officials backed off Gov. Mitch Daniels' recent order for a general property tax reassessment in Delaware County.

Daniels had ordered that all property be reassessed there and in Gibson, Marion and Posey counties due to evidence that high percentages of commercial and/or industrial properties were undervalued.

State officials now believe a primary reason that Delaware County's residential bills increased significantly is because countywide spending went up 10.5 percent this year.

Malchow plans to pay his fall property taxes installment in a more conventional fashion. He said that lugging around the heavy loads of coins and currency that he obtained from two Muncie banks left him "out of breath."