Hospital Tax Hearing Set for Next Week
July 18, 2013 — The Porter County Assessor says he is waiting for a judge’s ruling on a lawsuit he filed against Porter Health Systems. That hearing, originally set for today, is set for July 26, 2013 to resolve a dispute about a hospital’s property tax assessment.
Assessor Jon Snyder claims the hospital is not releasing documents needed to appraise the value of the new Porter Regional Hospital, “We’ve had no feedback from the hospital other than through their attorneys and representatives stating that basically we’re not entitled to much of the information.”
Snyder filed Porter County’s lawsuit against Porter Regional Health Systems because he says it hasn’t released documents that include information necessary for a proper tax assessment, “We petitioned the commissioners and asked them to allow us to engage a professional appraiser in order to perform my duties fairly and accurately of assessing every parcel in the county.”
Snyder said the hospital’s assessed value was about $34-million when assessed last March before the hospital was fully built.
“The hospital was 90 percent complete March 1, 2012, and so that is what kind of started this whole process to where I started to realize there was a problem.”
Snyder says the assessment is necessary to ensure that every taxpayer is paying a fair share of taxes to the county, “I’m here to protect everybody else from having to pick up the burden of a low assessment on a facility such as the hospital. If we continue to delay and we continue to not to move, the whole process, the whole tax process could be jeopardized in our county.”
Snyder says he didn’t want to sue, but his appraiser has been waiting since last august for documents. He says the suit is not an attack against Porter Regional Hospital but a tool to make sure they are paying their fair share of taxes.
“We need to know what this hospital facility is worth; it’s one of the most valuable pieces of property in our county.”
The assessor says he’s grateful to have the hospital within its county lines but believes it is his job to ensure he’s performing his sworn duties.
Porter Regional and the hospital’s spokeswoman says it will release a statement after the hearing, now continued until July 26.