Challenge to tax exempt apartments gets off to heated start

2013-03-12T14:06:00Z 2013-06-25T14:24:05Z Challenge to tax exempt apartments gets off to heated startBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | A hearing by Porter County to reconsider the tax exempt status of a Hebron apartment complex got off to a contentious start Tuesday afternoon with talk about court action to force the release of more documents from the buildings' owners.

The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals decided to go ahead with the start of the hearing with the understanding that the process will go on beyond Tuesday and long enough to allow time to gather documents and consider the facts.

At issue is the tax exempt status granted to the Misty Glen apartments in 2009 by the Indiana Board of Tax Review over the objections of the local tax board. The status was granted based on the charitable contribution of the apartments as affordable housing.

The first called to testify Tuesday was Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder, who was asked why he revoked the tax exempt status of the complex.

Snyder said he did not feel the prior assessor made a good enough argument against the tax exemption. He said the office is better prepared now to oppose the request.

Tuesday's hearing attracted a small crowd of onlookers.

Hebron Town Council President Don Ensign said recently he and other town officials oppose the tax exemption because the additional revenue is needed by the town and schools, which are faced with the challenge of providing services to the apartments and its residents in a time of shrinking tax dollars.

Sandy Bickel, an Indianapolis attorney representing apartment owner Hebron-Vision, has said she plans to appeal to the state if a change is made by the local board.

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