VALPARAISO | Questions are brewing over the start date of the county-granted $12.4 million tax abatements for the new Porter Regional Hospital.
Porter County Councilman Dan Whitten, D-at large, said Tuesday night the question is if the tax breaks began when the hospital opened its doors in August or earlier, sometime after the council approved the abatements in 2009.
Whitten said he was under the impression the abatements started when they were approved and said any delay could amount to a larger tax break by initiating the 10-year abatements when the hospital assessment was larger.
He called on council attorney Scott McClure for an update on the issue by the council's July meeting.
McClure said following Tuesday night's meeting that abatements begin when assessments are done on properties.
"When they owe money, it starts," he said.
A request for comment was left Tuesday night on the cellphone of a hospital spokesperson.
Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder said Tuesday night the hospital is appealing its March 2012 assessment, which reflects the facility when it was 90 percent complete.
The hearing on that appeal has not yet been conducted by the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, he said.
The County Council unanimously granted abatements on the building and equipment at the new hospital at northwest corner of U.S. 6 and Ind. 49. The group cited the need for more jobs, a quality health care facility and a general boost to the local economy.