Porter Regional Hospital's property tax appeal backfires

2013-12-16T12:30:00Z 2013-12-17T07:42:17Z Porter Regional Hospital's property tax appeal backfiresBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
December 16, 2013 12:30 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Porter Regional Hospital's attempt to reduce the first assessed value of its new building at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 has backfired.

The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals decided Monday to increase the $34 million assessed value to $117 million.

The decision was based in large part on a tax abatement document Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Nalli signed in 2011 and 2012 that placed the value of the building at $130 million.

The board reduced the value slightly because the hospital was only 90 percent complete at the time of the March 1, 2012 assessment.

The hospital opened the door for the increase by appealing the 2012 assessment, which resulted in Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder arguing last month the original model used to assess the hospital failed taxpayers by undervaluing the site.

"Jon (Snyder) did not start this appeal, the petitioner started this appeal," PTABOA President Joe Wszolek said.

Neither hospital officials nor tax representative George Uzelac, who represented the hospital in the appeal, returned telephone calls Monday for comment.

Donald Feicht Jr., vice president of taxes at Uzelac & Associates, accused Snyder last month of singling out the hospital and improperly varying from state assessing guidelines using nothing more than hearsay.

Wszolek, who said the board has increased other assessments during an appeal, said the guidelines are merely a starting point. Assessors are challenged to come up with a market value and are not told how to do their job.

The new hospital was assessed in 2013 at $244.5 million, the first value placed on the site since it opened in August 2012. The hospital has appealed that assessment as well and will argue during an upcoming hearing the value should be $39.3 million.

The hospital has also appealed the $22.3 million assessment in 2012 of the former hospital building at 814 LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso, which since has been torn down. The PTABOA has yet to make a decision in that case.

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