VALPARAISO | The owners of the Misty Glen apartment complex in Hebron are challenging a local decision to withdraw their tax exempt status.
The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals determined after a March hearing that Hebron-Vision LLC failed to show it qualifies for the breaks through charitable efforts.
Hebron-Vision LLC filed an appeal with the Indiana Board of Tax Review arguing the property is used to provide "safe, decent and affordable housing in a charitable manner for ... low-income and very low-income individuals and families."
"Through those acts, a benefit inures to the public sufficient to justify the loss of tax revenue," according to the appeal.
Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder, who initiated the effort to withdraw the tax exempt status, said, "Although I am disappointed with this choice by the ownership of Misty Glen, I sincerely respect a taxpayer's right to appeal and I look forward to a timely resolution with the state and Misty Glen in this matter."
It could take up to a year before the appeal is heard, according to Sandy Bickel, an Indianapolis attorney representing Hebron-Vision.
The five-building, 80-apartment complex at 99 Misty Lane was granted tax exempt status in 2009 by the Indiana Board of Tax Review.
In preparation for an appeal, Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals member Nicholas Sommer had said the tax exempt status is being pulled because there was no evidence presented during the March hearing of charitable or educational efforts on behalf of the apartment operators.
Hebron-Vision, which purchased the complex in September 2007, argued at the time it received the exemption that it offers services to tenants such as newsletters, referral programs, holiday parties, access to office equipment and free blood pressure screenings.
Sommer said the rental rates are compatible with the Hebron market and not significantly better than competing units, he said.
Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals member Joe Wszolek said the operators evict residents who are unable to pay their rent.
Sommer said the evidence also showed Misty Glen is generating a profit, which is not being kept in Porter County.
Bickel has said the affordable housing provided at the complex probably will be lost if the tax exemption is removed. She said it is very unusual for a county to initiate an effort like this to remove tax exemption granted by the state.