Hebron joins fight to reverse tax exempt status

2013-01-15T20:45:00Z 2013-01-15T21:16:04Z Hebron joins fight to reverse tax exempt statusPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
January 15, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

HEBRON | The Town Council voted Tuesday for an ordinance supporting the effort by Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder to remove the tax exempt status from the Misty Glen apartment complex.

The five-building complex was built about 1995 and was included in Hebron's tax increment financing district when it was created in 2006 by the town's Redevelopment Commission. About four years ago, the complex's owner succeeded in getting the state to exempt the property from paying property taxes.

The move was not discovered until recently by the owner of a local realty company, who reported it to Hebron and the assessor. Town Clerk-Treasurer Terri Waywood said the exemption was granted because the complex provides its tenants with classes in managing money and other services they can't get anywhere else in town.

Hebron is disputing that and the redevelopment commission passed a resolution Monday asking the assessor to set the value at the 2006 level and to begin collecting property taxes that are supposed to go to all the taxing bodies, including the township, the county, the schools and the library.

Waywood said Snyder already is pursuing the matter and has hired an attorney. Waywood said a significant amount of money could be involved, and there is a concern Misty Glen might not be the only alleged abuse of the tax exempt status in the county.

"With the schools talking about a referendum, a lot of this would go to them, and it could help a lot," she said. "We want everybody to get their fair share of the tax money."

The council also approved transferring $60,000 from the year-end balance in the general fund into the town's rainy day fund. Most of that money comes from the almost $600,000 Hebron received from the sale to Crown Castle of the antenna space on the water tower and another cell tower on town property.

By state law, the town can only move 10 percent of the balance in the general fund to the rainy day fund in any year. About half the antenna deal went to the general fund with the rest going to the water fund. Waywood said the goal is eventually to move it all to the rainy day fund, but it will take several years, assuming it doesn't get spent.

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