Times Reports Porter County Contends Hospital Not in Compliance with Tax Breaks
From the Northwest Indiana Times:
The Porter County Council unanimously agreed Thursday night that Porter Regional Hospital is out of compliance with the requirements for 10 years of significant tax breaks.
The move triggered the need for a hearing at 6 p.m. June 24 to give hospital officials the opportunity to respond to the finding.
Hospital Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Harmon made a failed attempt Thursday to convince the council the hospital is in compliance by having invested more than $130 million in construction costs, even though the health care provider now believes its assessed value for tax purposes is quite a bit less.
"We have met the conditions," she said. "We have been a good corporate citizen."
Council President Dan Whitten, D-at-large, who predicted the hospital would argue construction costs versus assessed value, called it a "disingenuous sleight of hand."
He said when he supported the tax abatement in 2009, he weighed the cost of the tax breaks against the benefit of the $130 million assessed value and decided it was a good move for taxpayers. To allow the tax breaks now on a far smaller assessed value would be to dupe taxpayers, he said.
The hospital has argued the assessed value of its building at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 is $39.3 million as compared to the $244.5 million value placed it on by a professional assessor hired by the county.
Harmon, who downplayed the county's assessment as inaccurate, announced Thursday the hospital had offered to increase its figure to $85 million.