Thursday, April 24, 2014

Times Reports Tax Breaks Caught Up in Dispute Over Value of Porter County Hospital

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

More progress has been made over the last 30 days than over the past two years in the debate over tax breaks for the new Porter Regional Hospital, attorney Scott McClure told the Porter County Council on Tuesday night.
Yet the key issue that has yet to be worked out is the large gap between the $39.3 million value the hospital places on the property and $244.5 million assigned by the county.
While McClure said there is a renewed effort by the hospital to address the issue, Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder would only say after meeting with hospital officials Tuesday that the discussion is off dead center.
There was not a lot more hope voiced by council members.
"I have my doubts," Council President Dan Whitten, D-at-large, said at one point about the chances of an agreement being struck.
Whitten and Council Vice President Karen Conover, R-3rd, sent a letter to the hospital last month that said the tax abatement requires the hospital build a structure valued at $130 million or more.
The hospital's claim that the property at U.S. 6 and Ind. 49 is valued at $39.3 million is out of compliance with the abatement, which could result in the council revoking the tax breaks, the letter reads.
Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, made a failed motion Tuesday to withdraw the abatement based on what he said has been years of "shenanigans" by the hospital.
McClure said while the council approved the abatement in 2009, the hospital has yet to file the application to start the tax breaks. Hospital officials must also file paperwork proving the site is complying with the requirements of the abatement and would need to seek a waiver from the council to get the full 10 years of the tax breaks, which should have begun with last year's tax bill.